GAA: Joe Kernan slams Armagh trio banned after Donegal brawl: ‘Players should have absorbed lessons’

Former Armagh boss Joe Kernan has hit out at the three Orchard county stars who are set to miss the Ulster Championship clash with Donegal on April 24 following last week’s brawl between the two sides in Letterkenny.

rmagh’s Stefan Campbell, Aidan Nugent and Ciaran Mackin are understood to have received a one-game ban along with Donegal’s Odhran McFadden-Ferry and Neil McGee.

Referee Paddy Neilan reported the five players to the GAA for ‘contributing to a melee’.

The sanctions come just six weeks after Tyrone and Armagh players were suspended for an altercation in their League match.

Kernan says: “I feel the players should have absorbed lessons after what happened in the Tyrone game.”

Kernan added: “It was obvious after what occurred on that occasion that the GAA authorities were stamping down on incidents such as melees so there is no reason to doubt their intent in dealing with issues as they arise.

“The shenanigans after the match tended to take away from Armagh’s recovery when they were level almost at the end, so it’s disappointing that they could now be without three players for their next meeting with Donegal.”

Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney will now be forced to amend his side for the renewal of their rivalry with Declan Bonner’s side in Ballybofey on April 24.

It is a match which has suddenly captivated the attention of the entire country.

With Mackin having been the essence of consistency at midfield during the League, Campbell proving his worth as an impact substitute by scoring in every game in which he was a joint skipper nugent recapturing his best form following a spell on the injured list, McGeeney will have to dig rather deeper into his well of talent to fill the gaps they will leave.

But Kernan isn’t overly concerned and believes Armagh are in good shape for a strong Championship campaign.

“I think we should keep a sense of perspective here,” states Kernan. “I know much has been made of the fact that Armagh have lost their last three games but Kerry had three points to spare over them, Mayo two and Donegal one so that’s hardly a cause for panic.”

“Overall it has been a good league for Armagh and while the players will be disappointed with some recent results, the fact that they have secured their place in the top bracket for 2023 is very encouraging.”

“I think they have shown they are able to compete against the best. Obviously the team and the management will be disappointed if they are stripped of the services of key players for the match against Donegal but there are lessons to be learned from this.”

While the bans are expected to be appealed, the fact that appeals of four Tyrone players and an Armagh player against one-match suspensions were upheld by the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee suggests that there will not be a change of heart on the part of the disciplinary authorities.

Leave a Comment