By Sean Creedon
Galway’s defense of their All-Ireland football title has been thrown into disarray following allegations that one of their star players, Michael Donnellan, clashed with the referee following a club game last weekend.
Donnellan, whose sensational form last season earned him the Player of the Year award, was seen to make contact with referee Tommy Gavin seconds after the end of a Galway championship match between his club Dunmore McHales and Corofin in Tuam.
If the 21-year-old is found guilty of assaulting Gavin then he could face a 12-month ban, which would rule him out of this summer’s championship as well as next season’s National League.
Donnellan clashed with Gavin after Dunmore had lost to Corofin in extra-time of a preliminary round replay. Witnesses claim that the player made contact with the official, but that he did not swing a punch. Gavin stumbled to the ground following the incident and he was escorted from the pitch by the Galway County Board chairman, Pat Egan, and a Garda sergeant.
Galway begin the defense of their All-Ireland title against London in Ruislip the weekend after next. Whether the brilliant Donnellan will be in the champions’ lineup is now a matter of considerable doubt.
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Collins abandons comeback
Former World boxing champ Steve Collins has finally abandoned his plans for a comeback. The 34-year-old Dubliner took the decision following a bran scan in London last week.
Two weeks earlier, Collins collapsed when sparring at a London gym. "I can lead a perfectly normal life, but because of the nature of boxing, I could not avoid receiving punches to the head," he said. "The headaches I was experiencing in training were a warning. That’s why I had the brain scan.”
Good news for Limerick
Good news for Limerick hurling manager Eamonn Cregan in the build up to Sunday’s Munster championship game against Waterford in Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Gary Kirby and Ciaran Carey, who have both been carrying injuries, should be available for selection. Waterford manager Gerald McCarthy has patched up his differences with Tony Browne and the Mount Sion man should line out for The Decies.
But the news is not so good for Clare manager Ger Loughnane. Already resigned to losing P.J. O’Connell, the Bannermen must now plan without Fergus Tuohy, who has got a three-month ban.
Much attention will feature on the referee for the Leinster Football Championship game between Longford and Westmeath. There was uproar in the first round when Cork referee flashed 14 yellow and six red cards as Westmeath knocked out Carlow. The Leinster Council decided that the game should be replayed, but the Games Administration Committee overruled the provincial body and Carlow didn’t get a second chance.
The Championship also gets under way in Connacht and Ulster this weekend. On Saturday, New York make their debut against Mayo, but it’s unlikely to be a winning one. Roscommon should be too strong for Leitrim, while Monaghan are given a cautious vote against Fermanagh in Ulster. And Nowlan Park, Kilkenny is the venue for the Dublin vs. Wexford Leinster hurling game. Michael O’Grady, who has been associated with Limerick and Wexford, is very committed to the revival of hurling in Dublin, but the Yellow Bellies possess too much experience for the Young Dubs.
May 26-June 1, 1999