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Tyrone's Tiernan McCann has eight-week ban lifted

Published 20/08/2015

Rufflegate: Tiarnan McCann
Rufflegate: Tiarnan McCann

Tyrone's Tiernan McCann had his proposed eight-week ban lifted at a meeting of the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) - which went into the early hours of Thursday morning - and will be available to play against Kerry in this Sunday's All-Ireland semi-final.

McCann was charged with discrediting the Association for diving in their quarter-final win against Ulster rivals Monaghan but in a dramatic u-turn the CHC have reversed the decision.

'Rufflegate' has been a huge talking point in recent weeks but the controversy surrounding the Tyrone attacker has been put to bed and Mickey Harte will be pleased to have the Killyclogher man at his disposal against the reigning All-Ireland champions.

Elsewhere, in a successful night for appeals, Kevin Keane is eligible to play in Mayo's semi-final clash with Dublin on Sunday week after also winning his appeal.

The Wesport man was sent off for striking Michael Murphy near the end of their All-Ireland quarter-final win against Donegal but the gravity of the strike led Mayo and Keane to believe that the sanction was too harsh and they appealed successfully.

The Hearings Committee downgraded the sanction from a red card to a yellow card meaning Keane has been cleared to play in their mouthwatering semi-final tie, a repeat of the 2013 All-Ireland final.

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Kevin Keane eligible to play in Mayo's semi-final clash with Dublin  

Meanwhile, Tyrone manager Mickey Harte has sent out a definite message that he believes his current side can emulate those of the '03, '05 and '08 teams by winning what many would see as an unlikely All-Ireland this year.

"I definitely believe we can win an All-Ireland… I believe we can win and that makes it possible," Harte said.

However, even though Tyrone were good enough to beat Kerry in the 2005 and 2008 finals, and having gotten the better of them in the 2003 semi-final, Harte believes that using those examples would be a "foolish" thing to do.

"I always said that every day we played them, the result could have went either way," the Errigal Ciaran man said. "Probably 2003 was the best one of us in that we caught them on the hop a bit.

"By the time they realised we were in a good position, it was almost too late.

"But in 2005, the rub of the green just went our way in certain scoring situations. 2008 the same, Kerry looked in a good position right into the second half and we just snapped at the right time, got three or four important scores."

"Any of the days we won, we could have lost. I won't be getting too carried away by that. This is a new ball game, they are in pole position and we have to be on top of our game to be in with a chance of taking this one. But I believe that if we are at the top of our game, we will give this a very fighting chance."

All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Croke Park, Tyrone v Kerry, Sunday, 3.30pm

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