Farragher will have to seek hearing in bid to clear him for final
Corofin forward controversial sent off in first minute of semi-final against Moorefield
Martin Farragher: referee Derek O’Mahony judged that Farragher struck Moorefield’s Liam Healy with his knee and issued a red card. Photograph: Inpho
Corofin full forward Martin Farragher will have to seek a hearing in a bid to clear him for next month’s All-Ireland club final. Farragher was controversially sent off in the first minute of the semi-final against Kildare’s Moorefield after an incident involving opposing full back Liam Healy, who catches a high ball and falls under pressure from his marker.
A free out is given, but as Farragher stands over his opponent he is pushed and Healy falls back to the ground.
Video review indicated that there had not been any contact between the players, but Tipperary referee Derek O’Mahony judged Farragher to have struck Healy with his knee and issued a red card.
Forced to play with 14 men for virtually the entire match, the Galway champions managed to eke out a win courtesy of a finely-taken late goal from Liam Silke. They will face either Slaughtneil of Derry, who they defeated in the 2015 All-Ireland, or Nemo Rangers from Cork.
The matter went before the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee, which considered the O’Mahony’s report and recommended a one-match suspension.
That decision has no real bearing on the merits of the case as the committee is obliged to act on the basis of the referee’s report. That is believed to have cited Farragher for a category III infraction (rule 5.15): “to strike or to attempt to strike an opponent with arm, elbow, hand or knee”. The infraction carries a minimum one-match ban.
A source in Corofin said the incident had caused “disappointment”, but that there was confidence that the matter could be “straightened out”.
Once a hearing is requested the case goes to the Central Hearings Committee, where the player and his club will get the opportunity to dispute that the infraction took place. It is very difficult to see any contact between Farragher’s knee and Healy.
As a note of caution for the Galway side, it will have to show that no contact took place as merely proving it impossible to detect will be a problem as the referee’s report has already been accepted. Repeated viewing, however, suggests that the referee made a mistake.
Judged from that perspective, the GAA is probably fortunate that Corofin managed to win as there would have been an even greater controversy had they been beaten in the circumstances.
Meanwhile, the GAA and its sister camogie and women’s football associations have signed draft memorandums of understanding as part of a process towards closer links. They are the result of talks lasting six months.
“The proposed memorandums seek to establish stronger links between the three organisation,s and are the result of over six months of separate discussion by the GAA with both organisations.
“The memorandums will become effective only when they have been approved by the Central Council of each organisation. In the case of the Camogie Association, a proposal to approve the memorandum will be discussed at its meeting on Wednesday, March 14th, by the GAA on Saturday, March 24th, and by the LGFA on March 26th.
“The memorandums reflect the shared vision of the three organisations for a new overall organisational model within which the games, ideals and aspirations of all three associations are equally developed and promoted.
“They recognise areas of common interest and give the Camogie Association and the LGFA representation on GAA committees and vice versa. The memorandums have been drafted to a similar template but differ in that they reflect the different stages that the organisations have reached in discussions on developing a new relationship.”
The idea of bringing the three associations together in closer alliance has been a long running process, and as long as 18 years ago the National Forum for Women in Gaelic Games, organised by the Workgroup on Increased Participation established by then GAA president the late Joe McDonagh, debated the possibility.