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Flannery’s ban plea comes to a head

By Niall Crozier

Banned Irish hooker Jerry Flannery has claimed that he took a “bang on the head” prior to the reckless lunge on French winger Alexis Palisson during Ireland's defeat to France two weeks ago.

Flannery admitted at the original hearing that he deserved a red card for the offence, but IRFU legal bigwigs are appealing the length of the ban, potentially by arguing that the Munster man was concussed to some degree immediately prior to the event.

“I was disappointed with what happened,” said Flannery, whose appeal against the six-week ban will be heard next week.

“At the time, I didn't think much of it. When I watched it on the slow motion it looked worse than I thought it was.

“Somebody said did you get a bang on the head. I said I did, but I couldn't remember exactly when it was. When I looked back, it was 90 seconds beforehand.”

Next Wednesday's appeal committee will be chaired by Jeff Blackett (England) assisted by Marco Cordelli (Italy) and Douglas Hunter (Scotland).

The original disciplinary panel found Flannery had been reckless, but not deliberate.

Flannery's plea and the remorse he showed for Palisson's injury — the wing had to leave the pitch with a dead leg -- persuaded the panel to cut the ban from a potential eight weeks.

When the IRFU announced their appeal, the Six Nations countered with their own appeal and Flannery could miss out on Munster's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Northampton as the ban could be lengthened if not either maintained or shortened.

Belfast Telegraph

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