Dundalk goalkeeper George Shelvey gets 10-game ban for aiming anti-Irish slur at referee

Club says English player ‘did not, at first, comprehend the discriminatory aspect of his words’

Dundalk goalkeeper George Shelvey has been banned for 10 matches for aiming discriminatory language at a referee. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dundalk goalkeeper George Shelvey has been hit with a 10-game suspension for abuse aimed at referee Rob Harvey after Monday’s 2-1 loss to Drogheda United.

An independent disciplinary committee of the FAI said Shelvey was in breach of the FAI regulations on racism/discrimination.

It’s believed that Shelvey used the phrase “Irish c***”. According to a statement from Dundalk, the Englishman did not realise such a phrase could be interpreted as discriminatory.

“While George realised very quickly that he had used inappropriate language, he did not, at first, comprehend the discriminatory aspect of his words,” said a club statement. “However, having discussed the matter with club officials he now fully accepts that his words were not only offensive, but also discriminatory.


“Going forward, Dundalk FC will work with George to develop his understanding of these issues.”

The Shelvey issue has managed to cloud talk of Stephen Kenny returning to the League of Ireland after a five-year hiatus.

Retro appointments are suddenly the norm. Noel King reappeared after two decades to replace Stephen O’Donnell at Dundalk last month, while Kenny is reportedly being lined up to fill Jon Daly’s shoes at St Patrick’s Athletic.

Kenny had been seeking employment in the lower rungs of English football since last November when the FAI choose not to renew his contract as Republic of Ireland manager.

But it is the ruthless approach of those running clubs in the Premier Division that has the managerial fraternity expressing concern.

“Jon got the job after I left this time last year and he wins them a cup, which is only the fifth in the history of the club,” remarked Tim Clancy, the current Cork City manager, who Daly replaced at Richmond Park. “For him to be gone after 15 games this season, I just think is crazy. Three Premier Division managers gone after what? A third of the season?”

O’Donnell, Declan Devine at Bohemians and now Daly have been sacked inside four months.

It does not seem like Daly will be unemployed for long. Keith Long, replaced at Bohs by Devine, is back in the dugout at Waterford, O’Donnell was this week named as Alan Reynolds’s assistant coach at Dalymount Park, and Devine took over at Glentoran in April.

Stephen Bradley is the longest serving manager in the top flight. Taking over at Shamrock Rovers in July 2016, he is now up to 338 games. Next comes Derry City’s Ruaidhrí Higgins with 135 matches under his belt since 2021.

“Expectation levels of a lot of clubs in the country aren’t in line with reality,” Clancy added. “Sligo – John Russell is doing an unbelievable job up there but the expectations are to try and challenge, which it shouldn’t be.”

If St Pat’s owner Garrett Kelleher lands Kenny, the removal of Daly will make a lot of sense. In the meantime, Seán O’Connor guides the Inchicore club across town to face Rovers at Tallaght Stadium on Friday night. Victory for Bradley’s defending champions could put them top of the table, should Shelbourne lose at home to Drogheda.

Friday night football is not restricted to Dublin grounds as only three points separates eighth-placed Sligo Rovers and Galway United in fourth ahead of the Connacht derby at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey

Gavin Cummiskey is The Irish Times' Soccer Correspondent