Delight for Clare as midfielder gets red card overturned before Kerry Croke Park clash

Cathal O’Connor was sent-off in last Saturday’s win over Roscommon.

Cathal O'Connor was up against Kerry's David Moran in June's Munster semi-final
Cathal O'Connor was up against Kerry's David Moran in June's Munster semi-final
Image: Lorraine O'Sullivan/INPHO

CLARE MANAGER COLM Collins expressed his delight this evening after midfielder Cathal O’Connor was dramatically cleared to play in next Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against Kerry at Croke Park.

O’Connor was sent off by referee Padraig Hughes early in the second half of last Saturday’s qualifier victory over Roscommon for a high tackle on Niall Daly.

A one-match ban was proposed but a Clare delegation successfully argued their case to the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee and the offence was downgraded to a yellow card, which leaves the Coolmeen high-fielder in the clear.

O’Connor travelled to GAA HQ for the hearing with Clare selector David O’Brien and county board secretary Pat Fitzgerald.

O’Brien had compiled a compelling case in support of O’Connor and slow-motion footage of the incident indicated that while the challenge was high, the midfielder got some of the ball and that the tackle was more mistimed than dangerous.

And Collins said: “We’re thrilled with that. It would have been a fierce injustice if he was prevented from playing.

“We wouldn’t have gone after it (appeal) if it was a deserved one (red card).”

In real time, Collins admitted that the challenge looked reckless but he decided to support an appeal after watching the incident again.

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O’Connor will now partner All-Star contender Gary Brennan at midfield as Clare look to upset the odds against Munster champions Kerry.

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Jackie Cahill

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