Dublin suspend manager Dessie Farrell for 12 weeks after training session

Nine players were pictured at Innisfails GAA club despite warning from the Association not to train before April 19 return
Dublin suspend manager Dessie Farrell for 12 weeks after training session

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell has been suspended for 12 weeks. Picture: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

DUBLIN have suspended manager Dessie Farrell for 12 weeks after the revelation in the  Irish Independent that nine of the Dublin football squad gathered in Innisfails GAA club for a non-contact session on Wednesday.

Among those photographed by the newspaper at the supervised training include footballer of the year Brian Fenton, Jonny Cooper, Brian Howard and Cormac Costello and the All-Ireland champions are certain to be sanctioned by the GAA.

After being found to have held training sessions back in January, the Cork and Down footballers lost one of their home league games, while managers Ronan McCarthy and Paddy Tally were suspended for 12 and eight weeks respectively. Rebel bainisteoir McCarthy won't be allowed join up with his squad again until mid-May.

In response, Dublin GAA said they "acknowledge that, following an investigation this afternoon, there was a breach of Covid-19 guidelines yesterday morning.

"The County Management Committee have suspended Dublin Senior Football manager Dessie Farrell for 12 weeks with immediate effect.

"The Dublin senior football management and players recognise that this was a serious error of judgement and apologise unreservedly for their actions."

An earlier GAA statement read: "It is with frustration and extreme disappointment that the GAA acknowledges reports today of a potential breach of both our own Covid guidelines and those of the government relating to the restrictions in place around team training.      

"Less than 48 hours ago, the Association reiterated its commitment to these current guidelines and called for continued compliance in the weeks ahead.      

"The GAA will pursue the allegations with the units in question at the earliest opportunity and will invoke any necessary disciplinary processes as appropriate.       

"In the meantime, while we acknowledge that the overwhelming majority of counties and clubs have complied in an appropriate and responsible way with the restrictions currently in place, we once again call on our members and units to uphold the integrity of the Association as part of our ongoing efforts to play our role in thwarting the virus and ensuring a return to activity when it is safe to do so."  

The Dublin incident came despite a letter from the Association which warned counties must not meet up until the official return on April 19.

Meanwhile, the Irish Examiner has reported that the gardaí are investigating possible breaches of level 5 Covid-19 restrictions by a sports club in west Cork.

The Cork County Board responded in a statement that they are “aware of media reports relating to an alleged breach of guidelines at an unnamed club.

“Public health guidance on training is very clear. Any club found to have been in breach of that guidance will face consequences as a result.”

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