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Bad boy counties will face fans ban

By John Campbell

Counties that engage in ‘disruptive conduct' could in future be exposed to a dramatic ‘shopping list' of penalties as set out by the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) in their judgment delivered on the recent case taken by Monaghan County Board.



A series of ‘sentencing guidelines' have been written into the DRA decision paper that include having a league point deducted or being forced to play next home matches behind closed doors or at neutral venues.

The decision that Monaghan should have to forfeit home advantage for their next home match was last week quashed by a DRA panel, which ruled that Central Hearings Committee had “usurped the expressly reserved scheduling and fixture role of the CCCC (Central Competitions Controls Committee) with respect to the National Football League.”

However, in acknowledging the CHC's right to tackle disorderly conduct, the DRA panel did provide a sequence of potential penalties which could clearly have arbitration approval in the future.

For future incidents of disruptive conduct that don't lead to the termination of games, they have set out how the CHC could be within its remit to request future home matches to be played behind closed doors, with only relevant team, health and safety and media personnel permitted.

The DRA panel, which included former Na Fianna (Dublin) club footballer and barrister Aaron Shearer, also suggests that the results of games could be annulled and replayed behind closed doors or at a neutral venue.

And a deduction of one league point is also set out as potential punishment in any future cases that may come up for arbitration.

The DRA does stress that such sentencing guidelines “are very much instructive and indicative and they are certainly not mandatory or prescriptive.”

They also recommend that advance notice is given for such a shopping list of penalties.

Monaghan's case has been put back to the CHC for rehearing, though it's unlikely that they will proceed with any of the more extreme measures as set out by the DRA.

Referee Joe McQuillan described the altercation that took place just before the interval in Clones last month as a “scuffle.”

In their submission, the CHC chairman Liam Keane outlined how their decision to forfeit home advantage was in line with previous “creative and imaginative” sanctions.

Meanwhile, when he takes his seat at Croke Park on St Patrick's Day, Frankie Dolan will do so with

mixed emotions. He feels strongly that his St Brigid's side should have gone a step further and reached a second All-Ireland final in a row, while he would relish another crack at the Crossmaglen Rangers team that ended his AIB All-Ireland Club final dream last year.

Instead, he will be cheering on his cousins in the Garrycastle team, who got the better of their neighbours in the semi-final.

He has his own regrets, but now he wants the Westmeath club to seize the day and make sure they have none of their own.

“I hope they do the business,” he said. “It is possible that they could cause a shock if they can keep Jamie Clarke and Oisin McConville quiet.

“If they can break even at midfield, I think they could go a long way. If they play as well as they did against us... I thought our midfield would get the better of them having looked at Garrycastle for a long time, but they showed a great hunger and intensity, which we didn't. If they can do that against Crossmaglen then they can do damage.

“They are a good team, they are in an All-Ireland final so they have a chance.”

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