GAA expected to announce new Farrell ban and rule him out of Dublin’s league campaign

THE GAA ARE expected to announce a three-month ban handed down to Dessie Farrell later today, while Dublin may also lose home advantage for an Allianz Football League game as part of the punishment.

It’s understood the suspension decided by the GAA’s Management Committee will replace the ban of similar length imposed by the Dublin county board on 1 April for organising a training session at the Innisfails GAA club.

The suspension will start from the date Dublin were informed, which is believed to have been yesterday.

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A 12-week ban from 8 April would run up until 1 July, which would mean Farrell will miss Dublin’s entire league campaign that runs from 15/16 May to 19/20 June if they make the Division 1 final.

He’s likely to be back on the sideline in time for Dublin’s Leinster SFC quarter-final on either for first or second weekend in July. Dublin typically receive a bye in the opening round of Leinster, meaning Farrell is unlikely to miss an early round championship game.

“[The Management Committee] have applied a sanction in the Dublin case and we are happy with the sanction we have applied. In terms of is it enough, management thought it was enough in this case,” said GAA president Larry McCarthy yesterday.

“Management are investigating the Monaghan one and will apply a sanction after an investigation.

“I think any breaches put it [inter-county’s return] in jeopardy,” he added.

The Cork native also confirmed that Farrell “can’t be involved with the team whatsoever” for the duration of his ban.

The same will apply to Monaghan boss Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney, whose training breach is the subject of an investigation by a group set-up by McCarthy yesterday.

A 12-week suspension is also expected in his case, again superseding the one handed down by Monaghan county board which began at the end of March when the collective session took place.

If the GAA impose a three-month ban on McEnaney next week at some stage, then the earliest he would return to the sideline would be the weekend of 10/11 July. With the Ulster SFC set to kick-off two weekends earlier, McEnaney could miss at least one championship tie.

It’s understood the GAA will ultimately overrule any penalties handed down by county boards for similar breaches.

Meanwhile, GAA director of games and administration Feargal McGill said the organisation wanted to include a backdoor in the All-Ireland SFC but there wasn’t enough weeks in the calendar to do so.

With just 11 sides involved in the Liam MacCarthy Cup, a qualifier system has been factored into the equation but the same has not been afforded to football.

McGill estimated that a further three weeks would have allowed a backdoor element to be implemented to give teams beaten in the provincials a second chance in the championship.

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“You needed another three weeks – it’s as simple as that. Otherwise, you would have had games on top of each other,” he said.

“There were two things that influenced it: you were going to have to take that time off the club season which you didn’t want to do or you were going to have to shorten the league season further.

“To the vast amount of counties in football the league is the more important competition.

“There were three things up for grabs – the qualifiers or Tailteann Cup or the other two, which was to maintain the number of games in the league and then protect the club window. That’s what it came down to. I wouldn’t say it was close.

“We felt the end of August was the latest we could with the inter-county. You could have squeezed them a little tighter? I’m not so sure. But you also have to remember you have to look at players as well and look at the fact you can’t just churn them out and whip them for a period just to have a nice-looking championship.”

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