GAA Football

Two Derry GAA clubs are hit with heavy penalties

Samus McKinney

TWO Derry GAA clubs are facing heavy penalties following claims that match officials were assaulted in separate games.

In a series of hard-hitting penalties, the Derry county board has proposed that St Mary’s, Slaughtmanus be forced to play all adult games away from home for the rest of the season. The move follows an assault on a referee during a recent club game. The Derry board’s disciplinary committee has also ruled that a Slaughtmanus club official be banned for two years (96 weeks).

In the second ruling, St Joseph’s, Craigbane has also been hit with a home ground ban on its senior team after it was alleged a linesman was assaulted during a club game.

Both clubs have declined to comment, although Craigbane confirmed to The Irish News the club has lodged an appeal against the county board ruling. It is understood Slaughtmanus have also sought a hearing with the county board before the bans are ratified.

In the most serious incident, a senior club game between St Mary’s, Slaughtmanus and St Malachy’s, Castledawson was abandoned two weeks ago after referee Mark O’Neill was allegedly struck. Witnesses said a row erupted after O’Neill sent a Slaughtmanus player off with around seven minutes remaining in the game.

A witness, who asked not to be named, told The Irish News: “Someone ran on from the sideline and hit the ref and he fell.”

The incident involving St Joseph’s, Craigbane occurred during a league game against St Matthew’s, Drumsurn.

If the proposed bans are implemented, Slaughtmanus and Craigbane will be forced to give up home advantage in all adult league and championship games. However, their underage teams will be able to play fixtures at their home venues.

Both St Mary’s and St Joseph's play in the Derry All-County League Division Two.

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