US players will know fate today


THE Games Administration Committee of the GAA will make a statement today on the fate of a number of players alleged to have played in North America without due authorisation. Last night's GAC meeting considered the cases against a number of players, in particular those who participated in November's New York senior football final replay.

This controversy broke out when the Kerry county board submitted to Croke Park that some of their players might have played illegally and could consequently be in need of "regularisation". Before Christmas, the GAC announced that it would clear up the matter at its meeting scheduled for last night and invited all counties to submit the names of players whom they might consider in need of similar regularisation.

A small enough number of county boards responded and they include Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Offaly, Armagh, Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal. Of the Kerry players, one, Sean Geaney has already been cleared because he had authorisation to play in the drawn final in New York.

Video evidence published and referred to in yesterday's Irish Independent indicates that in addition to the Kerry players associated with the match - Dara O Se, Dara O Cinneide and Fergal O Se - Donegal's Manus Boyle and John Ban Gallagher, Armagh's Kieran McGeeney and Cavan's Fintan Cahill were also involved.

When the matter was considered last month, the feeling was that the GAC would look indulgently on the transgressions - at least those on which the relevant county boards came clean.

In the case of Brendan Elliot, the Antrim footballer alleged to have been selected for National Football League matches while under suspension in North America, a decision - albeit under a different heading - is also expected.

Meanwhile, in Tyrone 15 players have been summoned to appear before a special meeting of the county's games administration committee which will consider incidents which caused the abandonment of last month's Division One League final between Carrickmore and Errigal Ciarain.

Four players were sent to the line Errigal's Eamonn McCaffrey and Malachy O'Rourke and Eamonn Loughran and Gerard Monroe of Carrickmore - in injury time but a fracas resumed immediately afterwards.

The referee's report was read to the committee's meeting on Tuesday night and it was decided to hold a special session on January. 21st to consider the matter further. In addition to the four players sent off, 11 others are to be, called - including four county panellists, Ronan McGarrity Davitt McElroy and Plunkett, McCallan from Carrickmore and last year's footballer of the year,

Peter Canavan, who although injured was reported for remarks made to the referee.

Finally, Derry's former All Star, Johnny McGurk has announced his retirement from intercounty football. A member, with Henry Downey and Gary Coleman, of the county's exceptional All Ireland winning half back line in 1993, he ranged up the right wing to score the winning point for Derry in the All Ireland semi final against Dublin that year. Two years previously he had captained his club Lavey to the All Ireland championship in the final against Galway's Salthill.

Injury had constantly interrupted his career in recent years and he played his last competitive match for the county in last June's Ulster semi final defeat by Tyrone, an unhappy occasion during which he struggled to make an impact at wing forward. Attention will now be focused on how many other senior Derry players decide to call it a day.