Davy Fitzgerald and Jason Forde face off in the league semi-final. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Case for defence

'The seriousness of a two-match ban for any player, is horrendous to be honest'

Tipperary boss Michael Ryan is backing his player Jason Forde.

TIPPERARY BOSS MICHAEL Ryan insisted the proposed two-match suspension for Jason Forde after last Sunday week’s incident involving Davy Fitzgerald did not derail their preparations for yesterday’s hurling league final.

But Ryan was clearly unhappy with the sanction, insisting that ‘the punishment does not fit the crime’ and describing the implications of a two-match ban as ‘horrendous’.

“I’d like to think that it didn’t get in on the guys. I certainly heard no chit-chat about it whatsoever. So I don’t think it derailed us in way, shape or form.

“We just explained exactly where it was at, that the charge had been made and we would deal with it on Monday morning. It wasn’t spoken about in the group.”

Ryan did conceded it may have affected Forde’s own display in the Gaelic Grounds.

“Could it possibly have been on his mind? Of course it could. It would certainly be on mine if I was in his shoes.

“Nobody likes to have any kind of an accusation hanging over you and these guys simply want to play hurling. The seriousness of a two-match ban, for any player, is horrendous, to be honest.”

Michael Ryan A disappointed Tipperary manager Michael Ryan in Limerick yesterday. Donall Farmer / INPHO Donall Farmer / INPHO / INPHO

The Upperchurch-Drombane club man admitted he was taken aback when he first heard the news that Forde could be in the dock but is determined that their appeal will be successful.

“Beyond surprised is what I was. I certainly didn’t think there was anything in it, to be honest with you. There was an awful lot more challenges, within the lines out there today, we don’t even look at them.

“It’s just unfortunate. It’s an incident that shouldn’t have happened in the first place, and we’ll be just trying to do the best we can for our player.”

“We’ll just be looking that balance and fairness will be the order of the day when we make our case in Croke Park. The proposed punishment does not fit the crime, in my opinion.”

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