Derry GAA furious with Shane McGuigan suspension ahead of Galway game

Derry GAA officials are understood to be furious after top scorer Shane McGuigan was handed a one match ban which rules him out of this weekend’s huge promotion clash against Galway in Owenbeg.

By Michael Wilson
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 6:16 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th March 2022, 6:20 pm

McGuigan was twice hauled to the floor by Roscommon full-back Brian Stack while trying to join two late Derry attacks in the closing stages of last weekend’s tempestuous Dr. Hyde Park draw. With only seconds left, the incident brought Stack a relatively meaningless black card from Tipperary referee Sean Longerman but, crucially, a second yellow for McGuigan who appeared to be trying to free himself from the defender.

McGuigan was visibly upset at the decision - which was compounded by his absence for a late, potential match winning free - and the Slaughtneil forward made his feelings clear to stand-by referee David Gough, the closest official to the incident, as he left the pitch, throwing his gloves to the floor in frustration as he headed for the dugout.

The reaction prompted Mr. Longerman to report McGuigan to the Competitions Control Committee under Rule 7.2 (b) Category 3 for “Foul Abusive language towards a linesman” which resulted in the announcement on Wednesday that McGuigan would be suspended for one match.

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Derry boss Rory Gallagher will be without his top scorer for this weekend's crucial top of the table clash with Galway.

Derry appealed on the grounds that McGuigan’s frustrations were aimed at the incident itself rather than the stand-by referee but after consideration by the Central Hearings Committee, the GAA decided on Thursday morning that this did not contradict referee Mr. Longerman’s match report and upheld its original one match ban ruling meaning Rory Gallagher must plan without the services of his top marksman for the visit of the Tribesmen this Sunday.

“Frustrated isn’t the word, we are extremely disappointed and annoyed at the decision and the fact Shane will be suspended for the biggest match of the season to date,” said one Derry official.

“It is clear from the video that Shane was not once, but twice, stopped from getting up the pitch to join what could have been match winning attacks and he has been extremely harshly penalised for trying to free himself.

“Indeed, his punishment has been more severe than the player who committed the fouls on him and his frustration, we believe, was understandable but not directed toward any individual present. Rather it was directed at the circumstance he found himself in.”

Shane McGuigan, who was controversially sent off last week in Roscommon, now misses this weekend's critical game against Galway after Derry's appeal against a one match ban failed.

McGuigan’s absence means Gallagher will be looking for the likes of Niall Loughlin, Niall Toner, Benny Heron, Matthew Downey and Ben McCarron to step up in a game that is tantamount to a promotion play-off between the two counties.

Derry currently trail the Tribesmen - who have won five from five in the league to date - by a single point but by virtue of the fact that Galway finish with a tough trip to Roscommon, a game in which one of Derry’s promotion rivals will drop points, the Oak Leafers will be promoted if they can secure the two points that would take them back to the top of the table this weekend.

Galway too can secure promotion with a victory in a clash which sees the division’s top scorers in Padraig Joyce’s team, who’ve hit an impressive century of scores in five games, facing off against the league’s meanest defence, Rory Gallagher’s side having conceded only 42 points across their five games in comparison to Galway’s 65.

“We want to get to Division One, we have never hidden that, we wanted to get it from early on in the campaign. We’ve got to now capitalise on it,” commented the Derry boss after last week’s 0-12 to 0-12 draw and prior to learning McGuigan’s midweek appeal had failed.

“We’ve had 11 league games (stretching back to last season) and were leading in them all and leading in them all very comfortably. We knew it wasn’t going to be like that against Roscommon but it’s a point I feel that gives us a brilliant opportunity to go to Division One.”

Ciaran McFaul should be back to full fitness having been introduced off the bench in both of the Oak Leafers’ last two league outings while Slaughtneil’s Padraig Cassidy could also be in line to play a role as he continues to work his way back from injury.

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