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Hurling: Laois get boot after pitch battle.

LAOIS were last nighted booted out of the Walsh Cup hurling tournament. And Dublin hurling selector Tommy Naughton has been banned by the Leinster Council for six months.

This was the outcome of the Council's investigation into the melee three weeks ago at the end of the Walsh Cup match between Laois and Dublin at Abbeyleix.

Naughton was caught on video running on to the field to join a melee which had been brewing in those closing minutes.

Seven Laois players and officials and eight from Dublin were called before the Council's disciplinary committee in Portlaoise last night.

And after almost three hours of interviews and discussion the Council decided to eject Laois from the competition from their part.

Laois hurling boss Padraig Horan, who had described the melee as "one of the most frightening experienced of my life" was angered at Dublin attempts to nail one of his players Niall Rigney last night.

Dublin brought three extra witnesses to try and prove that Rigney was in fact sent off by Meath referee Fergus Smith.

Smith appeared to send Rigney off but later he insisted that he was merely waving him away and telling him to cool it!

Dublin however were adamant that Rigney had been sent off and felt it precipitated the row. And angry Horan said: "There was a witch hunt out to get Niall Rigney". Dublin County Board issed a statement saying they were "disappointed at the fact that the incident which led to the intervention of Tommy Naughton into the melee was not included in the video evidence."

They refused to elaborate any more.

But it emerged that Dublin officials were incensed at the meeting at the way the video was put together and hinted that there may have been collusion to keep certain incidents out of the frame.

Laois County Board refused to comment on their punishment until they discuss the matter at a county executive.

In accordance with Rule 139 of the official guide both Co.Boards were fined pounds 1,000.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Author:Keys, Colm
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 23, 1999
Words:338
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Next Article:GAA: BACK IN THE DOCK; Clare slammed in Munster Council AGM report.


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