In The Irish News on Oct 23 1996: GAC have mercy over All-Ireland final brawl
APART from Meath midfielder Jimmy McGuinness, banned for six months until mid-April, 14 of the players disciplined by the GAC arising from the infamous All-Ireland final replay brawl will be free for the fifth round of the NFL series on February 2.
The summary of suspensions and fines totalled 38 months and £10,000, with Championship winners Meath signalled out as the more serious of the culprits with 23 months of bans, seven more than their beaten rivals, Mayo.
It is the biggest ever number of suspensions to be imposed as the result of a single match incident, a mass bare-knuckle eruption of violence that dragged gaelic football’s showpiece occasion into the gutter.
The tone of the measures taken by the Games Administration smacks of leniency in spite of the impact of the weight of suspensions in total.
With the exception of McGuinness and Colm Coyle (four months) the bans dished out to all the others involved in the fighting after an investigation which included official video footage arguably let many others off lightly.
A number of players will count themselves fortunate to be disciplined on disrepute charges, while £5,000 financial penalties for both county boards will not cause much hardship once the multimillion pound revenue pool is allocated on a performance-related dividend.
And as news of the verdict was circulated to the media last night, it was alleged that a top-level inquiry was under way in Croke Park into a leak of the information on a Dublin radio station at noon yesterday - 24 hours before the GAA’s scheduled announcement of the suspensions.
NEWLY-CROWNED boys club champion Clinton Morrison scored nine computer points without reply in the third round of his clash with Derek Owens on the opening night of the Ulster Intermediate Championships at the Dockworkers Club in Belfast.
It was a terrific comeback for the ‘A’ level student at Cambridge House in Ballymena. Owens, boxing in the Cairn Lodge colours, had finished the second round 7-2 in front. His body and head combinations were clearly on target in the first two as Morrison took time to settle into his routine.
If this was a deliberate ploy to pace himself for the new 4 x 2 minute round format it certainly paid off handsomely. The tall, blonde Ballymena welterweight stepped into top gear in the third round and when Owens was caught on the ropes in the neutral corner referee Jack Monaghan stepped in to halt the proceedings.
ST LOUIS, Ballymena reached the Herald Cup Final with a 1-13 to 2-8 victory over Patrician High School, Carrickmacross in Lurgan yesterday.
Martin McCarry scored their first half goal and they led by 2 points at the break, 1-5 to 1-3, with Loughlin Byrne outstanding for the Monaghan side.
The second half free-taking of Ruairi O’Loan kept Ballymena ahead and they survived a late rally from Patrician who also lost midfielder Byrne for a second bookable offence.
St Louis now play the winners of the St Mary’s Magherafelt and De La Salle, Ballyshannon in the the other semi-final.