Plunkett appeals ban

Suspension of 24 weeks recommended by C.C.C.C

Brendan Furlong

Published 09/08/2016 | 00:00

Ian Plunkett (second from left) before last year's All-Ireland Senior hurling championship final with referee James Owens and his umpiring colleagues, James Dunbar, John Clarke and David Owens
Ian Plunkett (second from left) before last year's All-Ireland Senior hurling championship final with referee James Owens and his umpiring colleagues, James Dunbar, John Clarke and David Owens

The referee at the centre of the match that never was has been recommended to receive a 24-week ban.

Well-known Wexford man in black Ian Plunkett, who was to act as an umpire for inter-county referee James Owens in last Sunday's Kilkenny v. Waterford All-Ireland Senior hurling semi-final drawn clash in Croke Park, has felt the full wrath of the county's Central Competitions Control Committee (C.C.C.C.) following a thorough investigation.

It was alleged Plunkett, who is also Secretary of the Marshalstown-Castledockrell club, lodged a full report, result and team lists, after sending an earlier text message of the result, of the Ballyhogue v. Clongeen All-County Football League Division 5B game, although it has been established that the game never took place.

Apparently Clongeen were unable to field a team to fulfil the fixture, having no more than eleven or twelve players available at the venue.

This in turn would have resulted in a walkover to the Ballyhogue club, but this is not how it bottomed out, with Wexford G.A.A. launching a full investigation after receiving complaints as to the constitution of the fixture.

Plunkett, who has been an ever-present at the posts for inter-county referee Owens for some time, is now facing into a possible 24-week ban although he has confirmed that he has appealed the recommendation.

As last Sunday's game approached, referee Owens was faced with a real dilemma, but he had to make the call and act quickly by removing his long-standing umpire from his team of officials.

Wexford C.C.C.C. has made the decision, recommending a 24-week ban, but they have taken no action against the clubs involved in the game, other than to hand the game back to the fixtures-making wing of the Competitions Control Committee (C.C.C.C.), who will award both points to Ballyhogue.

Chairman of the C.C.C.C., Aidan O'Leary, said the matter is now concluded as far as his committee is concerned.

Wexford Referees Administrator, John Rossiter, who also acts as an inter-county refereeing assessor, said: 'I had nothing to do with it from the point of view of investigation or otherwise. I cannot comment on it'.

Referee Plunkett said: 'I have lodged an appeal. I did not hear of the recommendation until Friday night. I immediately lodged an appeal the following day (Saturday) in the hope that it would have been heard before Sunday's game, but that did not happen.

'I cannot comment any further at the moment for fear that it would hurt my appeal,' he added.

Plunkett returned to refereeing last year following a prolonged injury lay-off, having taken charge of the Co. Senior football final in 2011.

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