LAOIS'S county board last night handed down a number of severe suspensions in response to incidents at this year's county hurling final between Camross and last year's champions Castletown, who have come out of the inquiry suffering the preponderance of the disciplinary action.
Inter county players David Cuddy and Martin Phelan are among those to have received stiff punishments with six and three months' suspensions, respectively. The incidents included people running on to the pitch to get involved.
The full list of the action taken is as follows: David Cuddy, six months for striking with the hurley; Cyril Cuddy, six months for striking with the hurley; John Cuddy (Cyril's brother and David's cousin), three months for the same offence. Gerry Phelan also received three months for striking with the hurley and his brother Martin got two months for striking with the fist.
Michael O'Sullivan, a former Castletown player now with Portlaoise and a brother of last year's Laois captain John, was suspended for six months for climbing over the wire to participate in the fight. Paul Cuddy (brother of David) was warned as to his future conduct.
None of the Camross players were suspended - fortunately for a team that has since reached the Leinster final - but two officials were disciplined. Sean Mortimer and club treasurer Jacob Fairbrother received 12 and six months for striking with, respectively, a hurley and fists.
One player, PJ Cuddy (no relation of the Castletown players) and an official Jim Scully were warned, as was club secretary Ciaran Delaney.
None of the above, with the exception of Castletown's Gerry Phelan who had been sent off, were mentioned in the referee's report. The suspensions were handed down on the basis of video evidence. One of the items presented in Camross's defence was that the club hadn't had a player sent off in seven years of championship and league - since similar scenes in a 1989 match against Portlaoise resulted in Camross losing a number of players to hefty suspensions.
The county board was evidently satisfied that the club had improved its behaviour and was not primarily to blame for recent events. The suspensions come a year after similar scenes in the county football league final between Portarlington and Stradbally also drew down heavy suspensions.
A recommendation to fine Castletown £1,000 and Camross £500 was rejected by the county board.
. Cavan have made changes to the side that heavily at home to Kildare three weeks ago, for the trip to Ballyshannon to take on Donegal in Sunday's postponed Division One match.
Philip Kermath returns at right corner back in place of Paul Murphy who reverts to the substitutes' bench. Philip Smith moves from full back to midfield, replacing Charles Clarke, and allowing Ciaran Brady in on the edge of the square.
Bernard Morris is back from, holidays and replaces Mark McGauran on the left wing of the defence whereas in the left corner forward position, Michael Graham comes in for Larry Reilly.