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Oak Leaf boss Damien Barton is hit with a lengthy ban

By Declan Bogue

Derry will be without manager Damian Barton on the sidelines for the rest of the National League after he was handed an eight-week touchline suspension by the Ulster Council following incidents during the Bank of Ireland Dr McKenna Cup final defeat to Tyrone last month.

With the Oak Leaf men ahead in injury-time of the game, Derry substitute Daniel McKinless became embroiled in a melee after he kicked the ball from Niall Morgan's tee as he went to take a kick-out.

As the nominated team 'runner' at the time, Barton was entitled to enter the field of play to issue instructions, but he himself became involved in a physical confrontation, appearing to be thrown to the ground by Tyrone's Cathal McCarron. Both men were then red-carded by referee Noel Mooney.

It is believed that McCarron will serve a one-game suspension, applicable in next year's Dr McKenna Cup.

However, because Barton is not a player, his ban is to be served on a national scale.

It was thought earlier in the week that he would appeal any ban, but that route has now been decided against.

His infraction concerns Rule 7.2 of the Official Guide, and the offence is in Category II.

Given that the ban began on February 8, it will run until April 4.

In the meantime, Derry will miss their manager's presence on the sideline for this weekend's home game to Galway, the vital away trips to Tyrone and Laois, the home clash with Meath and the final encounter of the Division Two campaign, away to Armagh.

Oak Leafs trainer Brian McGuckin is expected to be on the sidelines for the remainder of the campaign.

For the visit of the Tribesmen this Sunday to Celtic Park, Derry's options are strengthened by the fact that Cailean O'Boyle, Sean Leo McGoldrick, Declan Mullan, Liam McGoldrick, Ciaran Mullan and Ciaran McFaul are now back in the squad.

Meanwhile, Sean Cavanagh returns to the starting line-up for Tyrone ahead of their visit to the midlands to take on Laois this weekend.

Red Hands manager Mickey Harte has named a youthful-looking team, with a half-forward line of Niall Sludden, Mark Bradley and Conor Meyler -all of whom were on last year's All-Ireland Under-21 winning team.

TYRONE team (v Laois, NFL Division Two): M O'Neill; A McCrory, C McCarron, HP McGeary; T McCann, Justin McMahon, B Tierney; C Cavanagh, M Donnelly; N Sludden, M Bradley, C Meyler; D McCurry, S Cavanagh, R O'Neill.

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