Former Cavan inter-county footballer Anthony Gaynor has been suspended for 20 weeks arising from an investigation into an incident in a club game in which it was alleged an opponent was bitten.
Simon Cadden (Ramor United), a member of the Cavan squads that won the Ulster U-21 titles in 2011-2012, was treated for an ear injury following a league game with Ballinagh in early May, after which an investigation was launched by the Cavan County Board.
It has now emerged that Gaynor, who played on Cavan's senior championship teams in 2004-2006, has been banned for 20 weeks under a rule which the GAA has used in the past to deal with allegations of biting, an offence not currently included in the rule book.
Gaynor's case was heard under a rule which caters for, among other specifically identified offences, “inflicting injury recklessly by means other than those stated above”.
Kicking, stamping and headbutting are on that list.
The Cavan board has refused to divulge the outcome of the investigation, stating in response to the Irish Independent that it is their policy not to publish the outcome of disciplinary hearings.
However, it is understood that Ramor United have been informed that the Competitions Control Committee proposed a 20-week ban on Gaynor and that no hearing was sought by the player.
Meanwhile, Cadden is still undergoing treatment for the injury. His father, Jim, has criticised GAA rules, which do not formally include biting as an offence.
“There should be a rule in there that covers biting and it should carry an absolute minimum suspension of a year. No player should have to put up with such a serious and despicable offence,” he said.
In a move that could reignite the ‘pay for play' debate, the managers of the last two All-Ireland champions want players to be compensated if they are asked to play championship matches on weekdays.
The footballers of Laois and Carlow are set to play their first-round qualifier in Dr Cullen Park on Friday week and Dublin boss Jim Gavin and Donegal supremo Jim McGuinness have joined in the call for players to be reimbursed should they miss work to play for their counties.
“Monday to Friday would be considered a working week,” argued Gavin.
“And if you are expecting players to play senior inter-county during the working week, in a competitive championship game, I think they need to be compensated.
“The GAA has compensated players who travelled to Australia to represent their country in the Compromise Rules, so it's no different in this case.”
Rule 1.10 of the GAA's official guide states that, ‘A player, team, official or member shall not accept payment in cash or in kind in conjunction with the playing of Gaelic Games,' with the penalty ranging from a 24-week ban to expulsion, but McGuinness insisted that the players’ ‘amateur status' would not be affected?
“They are not getting paid to play, they are getting paid for the time off work,” said McGuinness, who insisted there was ‘no way' a player could be asked to work the day of a match.
GAA president Liam O'Neill disagreed and immediately ruled out the possibility of payments.