Sunday 24 February 2019

Former Athlone boss hit for six with ban

Former Athlone Town boss Aaron Callaghan
Former Athlone Town boss Aaron Callaghan

Former Athlone Town boss Aaron Callaghan has been hit with one of the heaviest bans ever given to a coach, with the Dubliner suspended by the FAI from all football activity for six months.

It's been a tough season for the midlands club, on and off the field. Town had just one point from the first eight league games of the season, a run which included two 7-0 losses and a 6-0 defeat.

Former Bohemians manager Callaghan stepped down earlier this week, following a Leinster Senior Cup defeat to Shelbourne, Callaghan complaining that he was unable to continue at the club as he was asked to play that game without a physio, Athlone ne eding to use the services of the Reds' physio.

But the FAI's disciplinary committee have come down hard on Callaghan over incidents at two games, a 7-0 loss away to Wexford and then last week's league game away to Cabinteely, a match which was abandoned due to a floodlight issue.

"The Football Association of Ireland confirms an Independent Disciplinary Committee has sanctioned Mr. Aaron Callaghan and that he has been suspended from all football-related activity within the Republic of Ireland for a six-month period, effective immediately," said an FAI statement.

"Whilst under the sanction of a two-match suspension, Mr. Callaghan ignored FAI Rules restricting him from entering the dressing room area, where his behaviour was deemed both offensive and intimidating towards match officials."

Callaghan has not yet responded to the ban. Two days ago he confirmed his exit from Athlone.

"To raise the bar in any industry you need to set professional standards and evolve with the competition. Somehow this message never landed. The players and staff have my utmost respect and I wish them every success," he said.

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