Conway’s clear but row rages
Derry's James Conway has had his two month ban overturned by the Derry County Board.
It's the latest development in what has been a turbulent few weeks for Derry football and in particular the Ballinderry club. It all began after an incident in the Derry league match between Ballinderry and Kilrea during which Kilrea's James Kielt suffered a broken jaw.
Conway was suspended from the Derry county squad while an investigation was held which resulted in him being banned for two months while Ballinderry chairman Camillus Quinn and secretary Brian Duffin were both suspended for six months, bans which were lifted earlier this week.
All Ballinderry adult sides were banned from league competitions for six months with the senior side being banned from this season's Derry senior championship.
Ballinderry were asked to name a player after the referee hadn't seen the incident and when they didn't produce a name the County Board handed out a series of bans.
But at an appeals meeting, the Derry County Board was forced to conclude that in the absence of solid evidence, either from the referee's report or from the Ballinderry club, no ban could be imposed on Conway.
Conway had been dropped from the county panel by manager Damian Cassidy following the incident, but will now be eligible for Derry's involvement in round two of the All Ireland qualifiers on July 11.
The Ballinderry club was refusing to make any comment last night, but they are certain to lodge an appeal to the Ulster Council initially and failing that to the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) over what they consider to be harsh suspensions imposed on all adult teams.
James Kielt was at Croke Park — where it was confirmed he would be one of the GAA's county ambassadors for the fourth annual VHI Cul Camps scheme — when news of Conway's ban being lifted came through.
“These things happen. You just have to get on with it. It was very disappointing the way it worked out, but you have to move on. It's something I don't want to say too much about,” said the 24 year old Queen's University student. “Missing the game against Tyrone was a big disappointment. Our next game isn't until July 11, but I don't exactly know how much training I can fit in between now and then.”