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Gormley relief as he is cleared to play in Tyrone semi

By Declan Bogue

Conor Gormley has been cleared to play for Tyrone in the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo. The veteran defender had been hit with a proposed one-match ban after an incident at half-time of their quarter-final against Monaghan.

However, Martin Penrose who received a red card after half-time for his involvement in the scene, will sit out the semi-final, as his bid to overturn it failed.

The pair met the Central Hearings Committee on Thursday and stated their case, aided by barrister Adrian Colton.

Both men were involved in physical exchanges with Monaghan's Dessie Mone as the two teams made their way to the changing rooms.

When they lined out at the start of the second half, referee Cormac Reilly instantly dismissed Penrose for his part in it with a straight red card, triggering an automatic one-game suspension for the All-Ireland semi-final against Mayo.

After the Central Competitions Control Committee reviewed footage of the incident, they also proposed a one-match suspension for Gormley.

On Wednesday at the Tyrone press night, manager Mickey Harte refused to be drawn on the matter, insisting instead that he had full faith in the disciplinary structures of the GAA.

He said, “I don't want to pre-empt the people who are going to sit in judgement of this, but certainly after they have made their judgement, I will describe what I think happened.”

He also refuted the charge that Tyrone play on the edge, emphasising, “Our players will always tell you that I say, 'whatever you think about doing in this game, put the team first.' And if you put the team first you won't do an awful lot wrong.”

The prospect of Monaghan or Mone being asked to provide evidence appeared slim when Harte continued, “I think that our people have the chance to have a hearing and they have the chance to bring their explanations as to what exactly happened. I think that will serve them well.”

He also maintained that he was not surprised the incident was revisited, stating, “That's the way of the world. People who present these things, seem to have the ability to others to consider or think about it. It brings it into the public domain and when you bring it into the public domain, and nothing is done about it, then the people who are legislating for this will be brought to task. So it's understandable too.” He continued, “When something is regurgitated enough in the public domain then people will say, 'let's re-examine this and see what really is happening here.'“

Meanwhile, Mayo manager James Horan doesn't believe the furore over cynicism after the first All-Ireland quarter-final between Tyrone and Monaghan will have any impact on how their semi-final against the Red Hand will be refereed.

Horan says he has no fears about the officiating in the face of such a media storm over elements of that quarter-final.”Maurice Deegan is reffing and I don't think anything that is said in the papers or at media nights is going to influence him.”

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