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Cargin tight-lipped but Council may bare teeth

By Declan Bogue

The player at the centre of biting allegations during Sunday's Ulster club Championship quarter-final is not prepared to take the case forward to the Ulster Council, the Belfast Telegraph understands.

However, even without the testimony of Cargin's Michael McCann, who was allegedly bitten by a Crossmaglen player at the start of the second half in their loss at the Athletic Grounds, the Ulster Council are obliged to press ahead and investigate the incident should it be detailed in referee Joe McQuillan's match report.

The flashpoint occurred in the 36th minutes, prompting a sizeable melee involving players from both teams. Cargin club officials have since confirmed they witnessed marks on McCann's skin, consistent with teeth marks.

Cargin did not have a doctor inspect the marks, although the club's two physios have witnessed them.

John Connolly, Public Relations Officer of the Ulster Council, explained that what is contained in the referee's report will determine their next step.

"There is nothing we can do until we see the referee's report," he insisted.

"As usual, we will adhere to the referee's report as soon as we see it, but until then, we can make no comment."

When informed that pressure from the Cargin club was unlikely, he continued, "If the referee puts it in our report, that's our Bible. They (Cargin) would have nothing to do with it, it would be out of their hands.

"Once it is reported by the referee, it moves on down the line then. You can't back-track. It goes to the county board or the Ulster Council and is taken from there."

If there is a precedent for this kind of case, it may well compare to the time Donegal's Patrick McBrearty was allegedly bitten in a league game against Dublin in 2013.

In that instance, Donegal doctors examined the marks on McBrearty's skin and they were also shown to a Dublin team doctor, who reportedly agreed that it was, in fact, teeth marks.

McBrearty was taken to Letterkenny General Hospital after the game, where he was given a series of injections.

The Central Competitions Controls Committee imposed a three-match ban on Dublin defender Kevin O'Brien for what is considered a Category Three offence.

Despite photographs and the testimony of the Donegal doctors, the case was thrown out when O'Brien did not accept the punishment and took his case to the Hearings Committee.

Cargin manager, John Brennan, re-iterated his view on the incident on Monday, reserving criticism for how McQuillan booked Cargin's Gerard McCann in the aftermath of the incident.

"A reporter asked me about it and I told them that Michael McCann was bitten," said Brennan.

"He confirmed what I had said. I only repeated what he had said, but we are not making an issue. None of us could understand why it wasn't dealt with.

Meanwhile, Crossmaglen joint-manager Oisín McConville has explained his club's position on the allegations.

He said: "These sort of incidents are very hard to prove and very hard to see. We're happy that such an incident did not happen.

"We haven't been associated with this stuff before.

"It wouldn't be something as a management team we'd be condoning and as a club it's not something we would want happening."

Meanwhile, both Kilcoo and Crossmaglen have agreed to a coin-toss to decide if their semi-final will be played in Newry, or Armagh.

The coin-toss will happen tomorrow night.

Belfast Telegraph

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