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Offaly boss Stephen Wallace looking at eight-week ban

The proposed suspension relates to incidents in last month’s Kerry intermediate club championship game between his club Ardfert and John Mitchels.

Wallace.
Wallace.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Updated at 9.00

OFFALY SENIOR FOOTBALL boss Stephen Wallace could be facing eight weeks away from all activities in both football and hurling at all levels if a proposed ban by the Kerry CCC is not overturned on appeal.

If upheld, it would see Ardfert’s Wallace miss Offaly’s Leinster Championship opener against Wicklow on 13 May and potentially, if they were to win, their meeting with Dublin on Sunday, 27 May.

There were a number of suspensions proposed at a meeting to deal with incidents that took place late in the Castleisland Co-Op Mart intermediate club championship game between John Mitchels and Ardfert at the Austin Stack Park on Saturday, 31 March.

John Mitchels’ Brendan O’Mahony was handed a two-match ban, while Graham Higgins received a one-match ban. Ardfert’s Darren Dineen got a one-match ban, which he served last Sunday against St Mary’s, while Kieran Fitzgerald received a two-match ban.

Wallace and Pat O’Driscoll picked up suspensions of eight weeks as sideline team officials, which precludes them from being involved at all grades in both football and hurling.

Both men can appeal the decisions of the CCC but it is believed that the players have accepted their bans. Both Ardfert and Mitchels clubs were also fined. It is believed one of the teams involved supplied video evidence of the fracas so the Hearings Committee, who will have little room for manoeuvre.

The Hearings Committee is a completely separate body to the CCC and Wallace’s appeal will be dealt with as a non-player appeal, which means that under Rule 7:5 (1) (i), if his suspension is upheld, it will start when the Hearings Committee make their decision and not like that of a player, which would begin from the date of the game.

It is believed that Wallace has sought a hearing but the original date had to be aborted because his witnesses were unable to attend, so another suitable date has yet to be found.

The CCC will not comment on the proposed bans until the process is finalised and all appeal avenues have been explored. Even then, they generally do not comment.

Wallace is a widely-respected manager, having been in charge of two All-Ireland Kerry Junior winning sides in 2015 and 2016. He was also Ardfert manager in 2015, when they won the All-Ireland intermediate club title — beating St Croan’s (Roscommon) in the final.

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Murt Murphy

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