GAA Football

Video: Remorseful Down boss Eamonn Burns likely to face further censure after sending off

Down boss Eamonn Burns was sent off for pushing a Cavan player during Saturday night's Division Two clash at Kingspan Breffni Park
From Brendan Crossan at Kingspan Breffni Park

Allianz National Football League Division Two: Cavan 0-17 Down 0-14

DOWN boss Eamonn Burns expressed regret after being sent off just before half-time for pushing a Cavan player in the neck – and can expect to be hit with a sideline ban.

After suffering a three-point defeat to Division Two leaders Cavan on Saturday night, Burns admitted “managers shouldn’t be in those situations” and was forced to watch the second half from behind the wire in Kingspan Breffni Park.

Burns pushed Oisin Kiernan in the neck with sufficient force to warrant a sending-off.

In first-half stoppage-time Down’s Caolan Mooney and Cavan captain Dara McVeety tangled near the sideline and in close proximity to the Down management team.

Burns approached the pair before being confronted by the in-rushing Kiernan, and the Bryansford man proceeded to push the Cavan forward away right under the nose of Kerry referee Padraig O’Sullivan.

Afterwards, Burns said: “[It was] a wee bit of handbags to be quite honest with you. There was a bit of an altercation between one of their players and Caolan Mooney and I just went in to sort it out but these things happen.

“Managers shouldn’t be in those situations. It was heat of the moment. There was nobody hurt.”

The tension carried into the tunnel area with the referee’s whistle being heard on several occasions to restore order.

O’Sullivan, however, took no further action as both teams emerged with 15 players each for the start of the second half.

Cavan boss Mattie McGleenan played down the half-time commotion as a “holding hands session”.

“There was nothing much to it,” said the Tyrone man.

“Listen, there were a few boys feeling and touching. There is not much room when you go down that area and when you’ve two groups of big strong men going in there, it was a holding-hands session.

“If there was anything in it, something would have happened in the second half. There was nothing in it and it was a great game of football in the second half.”

Burns could be banished to the stands for Down’s remaining two NFL fixtures against Tipperary (h) and Meath (a) as the fight the prospect of relegation.

Two seasons ago, former Derry boss Damian Barton received an eight-week ban (managers receive time bans rather than game bans) after becoming involved in an altercation with Tyrone players in the Dr McKenna Cup final.

Barton was forced to sit in the stands for the vast majority of Derry’s National League campaign. Part of the ban prohibited him from communicating with his players during matches.

Burns’ infraction would appear less serious as Barton ran half the length of the field to confront some Tyrone players, whereas Saturday night’s incident happened right beside the Down management team.

An eight-week ban would bring Burns up to early May while Down face Antrim in the Ulster Championship on May 26.

The CCCC is likely to view video footage of Saturday night’s incident and other players or backroom team members could find themselves in hot water for contributing to a melee.


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