Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Police to charge fans over Leinster final ref row

Referee Martin Sludden protected by the Gardai at the end of the Leinster final.

Gardai have completed their investigation into the unruly scenes that marred the end of last year's infamous Leinster football final and three supporters are to face summonses.

It is understood that the Republic’s DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) has now recommended that up to three prosecutions be made against individuals involved in altercations with Tyrone referee Martin Sludden as he made his way off the field.

Controversy erupted when Sludden decided to allow a clearly illegal Joe Sheridan goal deep into injury-time that gave Meath a two point-lead over rivals Louth.

With no more additional time left for a response, Louth were denied a first Leinster title in 53 years and their supporters were incensed by the decision.

TV cameras following Sludden off the field captured the harassment he faced as he made his way for the tunnel beneath where the Cusack and Davin Stands meet.

The deadline for the application of summons on foot of the DPP recommendation is today, six months on from the date of ill-fated Leinster final.

The GAA have conducted their own investigation into the incidents but have been waiting for the Garda investigation to be completed.

Sludden was due to return to inter county refereeing on Sunday last when he was down to take charge of the Armagh/Antrim McKenna Cup match that was postponed due to the adverse weather.

The Tyrone official has returned to club action in his county and across Ulster since the Leinster final and was a linesman for Joe McQuillan for the Ulster club final between Crossmaglen Rangers and Naomh Conail in December.

Meanwhile, the Central Competitions Control Committee, under the chairmanship of Ulster’s Seamus Woods, is currently completing its own enquiries into at least four major disciplinary issues.

Sources within Derry and Armagh have revealed that three players from the two counties — Eoin Bradley and Enda Muldoon (both Derry) and Robbie Tasker (Armagh) — are understood to be among those who have come to the attention of the committee for disciplinary reasons.

Contrary to reports, though, the CCCC, one of the most powerful constituent bodies within the GAA, was not ‘invited to re-visit’ these matters but is exercising its

powers under Rule 3.51 (e) from the Official Guide.

This states: “The Central Competitions Control Committee shall have the authority to direct committees within counties and provinces to enforce the penalties prescribed in rules relating to disciplinary matters arising from games.”

Bradley was initially automatically banned for 48 weeks after having been reported for striking the referee at the end of Glenullin’s championship match against Ballinderry last year.

However, this period was subsequently reduced to 24 weeks by the Derry Hearings Committee.

Muldoon, meantime, had the red card which he received for striking while playing for Ballinderry against Lavey in the Derry championship rescinded.

Tasker was shown a red card while playing for his club, St Patrick’s, Cullyhanna against Crossmaglen in a drawn Armagh championship semi-final but had his card rescinded — apparently on the premise of mistaken identity on the part of referee Jimmy McKee. He was accordingly freed up to participate in the replay which his side lost.

Now the CCCC has assimilated more detailed information on all three red cards and this will be discussed at a meeting which is due to be held shortly.

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