Weekend of celebrations for Tyrone GAA ladies marred by ugly incidents elsewhere

 Tyrone GAA entered the national spotlight for all the right and wrong reasons at the weekend. Their ladies clinched the TG4 All-Ireland intermediate title and secured their return to senior football after a three-year absence when they defeated Meath by 6-8 to 1-14 in a pulsating final at Croke Park in Dublin.

Sadly the achievement was overshadowed by two incidents in games closer to home. Ugly scenes occurred at the end of normal time in the Intermediate Football Championship game between Strabane and Stewartstown at Omagh on Friday night. Footage from various videos shows more than 30 players involved with a number of punches and kicks clearly visible.

A number of other people also appear to be involved in the disturbances. After an earlier dismissal of a Stewartstown player, red cards were shown to two further men from both sides following the scenes.

However, with the sides level when normal time was blown up moments later, GAA rules allowed both sides to regain their full playing strength of 15 players during extra-time as Stewartstown went on to earn a 1-19 to 2-13 win.

Meanwhile, former inter-county star, Sean Cavanagh, suffered concussion, a broken nose and extensive facial injuries during Moy's Senior Football Championship clash with Edendork on Saturday.

Cavanagh was brought to hospital at half-time after taking a knee to the face in the 20th minute. He had to had to undergo a CT scan on his head. It came back clear but the three-time All-Ireland winner did suffer a broken nose, concussion, a damaged cheekbone and some scratching and bruising on his face. While that incident was a reported accidental collision, the rest of the game was riddled with incidents. The referee handed out 20 yellow cards, six reds and a black card during the ill-tempered clash.

None of the reds were straight dismissals, instead being for two yellows each time.

Cavanagh tweeted on Monday: "Thanks for all the messages. Released from hospital with a bad concussion, broken nose and extensive facial injuries but could have been much worse. I'm lucky."

The normal procedure in GAA disciplinary cases is that decisions on whether to take action follow the receipt of the referee's official match report.

Earlier this year, players from the Tyrone under-20 football team were involved in a mass brawl during an Ulster Championship game against Armagh at the Armagh Athletic Grounds. Suspensions were handed out following the incidents although several of these were over-turned after appeals.

In a statement Tyrone County GAA Board condemned “all of the ugly scenes of unwarranted violence” that occurred in the course of the weekend’s club championship action, and offered its good wishes to “all players who incurred injuries – whether accidentally or otherwise”.

The county’s Competitions Control Committee (CCC) is expected to deliberate on the contents of the referees’ reports before deciding upon a course of action on the incidents that occurred.

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