Louth forward Ryan Burns is to appeal his 12-week suspension accrued in his last weekend’s All-Ireland Qualifier defeat to Longford at the Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda – with his participation in Hunterstown Rovers’ summer of league and championship action in the balance.
Burns, who top scored for Louth in league and championship games in 2017, started Saturday’s home qualifier on the bench but was sprung with Colin Kelly’s men chasing the game in the second half. He managed to score 0-02 in his 30 minutes on the field – but his last gasp dismissal with the game lost meant now departed boss Kelly saw his team finish with just 12 men.
Having failed to chase down a ball by the corner flag, Burns launched the ball in the direction of the umpire. His kick connected with the official and referee Noel Mooney deemed it worthy of a straight red card. Moments earlier, Patrick Reilly had been sent off and Louth were already down to 14 before then.
Westerns midfielder Tommy Durnin, also a substitute, was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.
Rovers forward Burns now faces missing out on the entirety of Hunterstown’s summer schedule, including the remaining games of their league campaign and the group stages of the CTI Business Solutions Intermediate Championship, as well as the quarter-finals and potentially even semi-finals should the Pairc Baile Fiach men make it that far.
LMFM reported on Friday that the 21-year-old would appeal the ban in the hope of some leniancy from GAA chiefs.
Speaking after the game on Saturday, outgoing boss Kelly claimed Burns act was borne out of frustration of how the game had gone. Kelly, who resigned less than 24 hours later, also expressed his fears that Burns may fall foul of a similar punishment to that dished out to Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly in a high profile incident earlier this month.
In early June, Connolly was handed a 12-week ban after he clashed with a linesman in Dublin’s SFC quarter-final win over Carlow. In that instance, he physically shoved official Ciaran Branagan. The Dublin appealed the sentence but it was upheld.
If Burns fails to convince Croke Park chiefs – namely the Central Competitions Control Committee – to overturn his ban, his loss for such a long period will represent a significant blow to Rovers as they face ahead to a hectic summer schedule. They are currently riding high in the league having secured five wins and a draw from six games thus far to leave them just one point off the summit in Division Two.
Next month will see the start of the 2017 Intermediate Championships where Jim Mathews’ side will face off against St Fechins and St Mochtas for a place in the knockout stages. Their Paddy Sheelan Shield final against O’Raghallaighs is pencilled in for the end of July. Burns could miss all of these vital games.
Watch the incident again here: