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Friday 24 November 2017

Rathnew may face sanctions for row

St Vincent’s Eamonn Fennell and Nathan Mullins celebrate. Mullins is considered an injury doubt for Sunday week’s Leinster Club SFC quarter-final against Wicklow’s Rathnew
St Vincent’s Eamonn Fennell and Nathan Mullins celebrate. Mullins is considered an injury doubt for Sunday week’s Leinster Club SFC quarter-final against Wicklow’s Rathnew

Rathnew may face disciplinary sanctions ahead of their Leinster club SFC quarter-final with St. Vincent's on Sunday week.

The Wicklow side came out on top in a fraught first round victory over Louth outfit, Newtown Blues in Drogheda last Sunday by 2-6 to 0-9.

However, Leinster disciplinary chiefs are eager to view footage of two separate incidents, one before throw-in and another during the game.

Referee David Hickey sent nobody off during the match, complicating any disciplinary case although Leinster's CCC will first examine the Carlow official's report before deciding what, if any, course of action to take.

The team managed by former Wicklow manager, Harry Murphy, are, however, in danger of being hit with suspensions for their clash with the reigning Leinster champions in ten days time.

The Wicklow champions, who have won six of the last nine county titles, will host St Vincent's in Aughrim on November 12 (2.0) and they have pedigree at this level.

Rathnew were Leinster champions back in 2001, when they beat a star-studded Na Fianna after a replay in one of Murphy's previous stints in charge of the club's senior team.

Bidding

St Vincent's, for whom Nathan Mullins is a major injury doubt after suffering the affects of a huge early shoulder from James McCarthy in Monday evening's county final, are bidding to become the sixth Dublin team in-a-row to win Leinster while an eighth provincial title for the club would put them one clear of current Laois champions, Portlaoise.

Meanwhile, Leinster Council have confirmed that there will be no college sides in the forthcoming O'Byrne Cup and Walsh Cup competitions and that they will begin in December this year.

UCD, DCU, IT Carlow, DIT and Maynooth University all played in the 2017 O'Byrne Cup while NUIG, UCD, DCU and IT Carlow fielded teams in the Walsh Cup.

However, due to an earlier start to next year's Allianz Leagues, the first O'Byrne Cup matches will be played on December 30 this year and none of the colleges sides will be included.

The news is a positive development for new Dublin hurling manager Pat Gilroy.

Traditionally, the involvement of the third level teams has posed a headache for inter-county managers as the third level sides were entitled to first call on players.

Lost

Gilroy's predecessor, Ger Cunningham lost a dozen players to colleges for the competition back in January.

Although the format will only be decided and a draw conducted on November 15, the O'Byrne Cup round-robin games will be played on December 30, Wednesday January 3 and Sunday January 7.

The semi-finals will be played on January 14 and the final, a week later.

The Dublin footballers, however, are again expected to field a development team as the All-Ireland winning squad are due to take their team holiday in January prior to returning for the first round of the league

This year, Paul Clarke took charge of Dublin and led them all the way to the title, despite having none of the 2016 All-Ireland winning panel available.

The absence of college teams will, however, grant the stand-in Dublin management team the luxury of picking any of their normally college-tied players.

Paddy Small, for example, shone for Ballymun Kickhams in this year's county championship but would, in previous years, have been obliged to line out for his college, DCU.

Leinster Council will also confirm the venues and times for next year's Leinster SFC and SHC games at that meeting.

It is expected, however, that Dublin will play their two home Leinster SHC matches in Parnell Park. Gilroy's new charges will host Kilkenny on May 13 and Offaly on June 3.

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