Clare senior football manager, Colm Collins, could be confined to the stands for his side’s provincial championship opening tie against Limerick, as he is serving a 12-week ban.
The Clare Champion has learned that the Competition Control Commitee (CCC) handed down a three-month suspension arising out of an incident with a linesman during Clare’s victory over Fermanagh in their last National Football League game in Cusack Park.
It is understood that the suspension, which the Clare manager has accepted, was delivered a few weeks ago. Efforts to contact Colm Collins for a comment on Wednesday proved unsuccessful.
Senior Clare GAA County Board officials had remained tight lipped about the suspension until board chairman, Michael McDonagh, was contacted with details about the ban, which only emerged about 10 days before the county footballers take on the Shannonsiders in Cusack Park.
Clare GAA supporters will be left wondering why details of Collins’ suspension are only coming to light this week in the run up to the senior championship opener.
A spokesman in Croke Park told The Clare Champion on Wednesday that the CCC was precluded from giving out information about any sanction it had imposed following its deliberations.
In most cases, mentors who are subjected to a ban cannot patrol the sideline and are left to make substitutions and switches from the stand.
A mentor has a number of options considering when the ban comes into operation. This can depend on the date of acceptance of the proposed penalty, or they can request a hearing within three days. If a person seeks a hearing, they can opt for the suspension to start from the date of the hearing committee’s decision.
Despite the suspension, Michael McDonagh insists it “is not a setback” and will not disrupt the footballers’ preparations before the game.
“Colm Collins has my full support in the job he is doing. He has brought a highly motivated backroom to Clare football, which will reap rewards in the coming years. This matter is now at an end and it will not disrupt any match preparations involving the Clare senior footballers before their first round Munster championship game against Limerick on Saturday week,” he said.
Under Category 111a of the GAA’s rules, the minimum penalty for minor physical interference – for example laying a hand on, pushing, pulling or jostling, threatening or abusive conduct towards or threatening language to a referee, umpire, linesman or sideline official – is 12 weeks.
Recalling the incident, Mr McDonagh said Shane McGrath, in his opinion, scored a perfectly good point against Fermanagh into the Aldi end of Cusack Park, during Clare’s last league clash.
Mr McDonagh said this score was waved wide and “as any manager would do in the circumstances, when there was an awful lot at stake for Clare football, Colm Collins put his point in an animated way across to the linesman that it was a point.
“As a result, Colm Collins was reported for minor physical interference. There was nothing major in what happened and there was nothing wrong in what Colm Collins did. I honestly believe the linesman will state that,” he said.
He added that the football team has been very well prepared by Collins to date and are “galvanised and very passionate about what they are doing”.
“I have no doubt that Clare footballers will put up a fine display against Limerick in the Munster championship and will bring to the field the passion in which Colm Collins has brought to Clare football. I sincerely hope Clare footballers will have a long year ahead of them in the championship,” he added.
The board chairman confirmed the senior football manager had accepted the decision of the CCC and would not be appealing the decision.
Asked why the county board is not appealing the suspension in view of the “minor” nature of the incident, he said the board and the manager were happy enough to move on and not get “sidelined by the theatrics of an appeal”.
By Dan Danaher