Tyrone joint-manager Feargal Logan says he is happy to see a swift resolution to Conor McKenna’s disciplinary case after the former Aussie Rules star was cleared to play in Sunday’s Ulster SFC quarter-final against Derry in Omagh.
McKenna was shown a red card at the end of the preliminary round win over Fermanagh earlier this month for ‘contributing to a melee’, but Tyrone sought a hearing for their player believing he was simply defending his teammate Con Kilpatrick.
A precedent was already set last week when Armagh had Rian O’Neill, Aidan Nugent and Stefan Campbell cleared to line out against Donegal following similar charges from a League game between the counties in Letterkenny.
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It was no surprise that the Central Hearings Committee (CHC) overturned McKenna’s dismissal, but Logan said he was satisfied with the procedures and grateful the case didn’t drag on any longer.
“The players are entitled to a hearing to put forward their side of the story and that’s what Conor did,” Logan said.
“I’m glad and appreciative that the hearings committee saw fit to rescind the red card.
“It is not (ideal), but it was dealt with in the first instance, which is the hearings committee. There are then appeals, arbitrations and other procedures after that – all the fair checks and balances that apply in a sporting arena.
“The GAA has those checks and balances in place and the facts spoke for themselves quite a bit in this matter.
“The fair procedures worked and Conor is now free to play.”
McKenna’s availability is a huge boost to the All-Ireland champions. The Eglish clubman made a massive impact when introduced for the second half, scoring 0-2 and setting up a goal for fellow sub Liam Rafferty.
“He is a super talent,” added Logan.
“People have been talking about him across Ireland since he was 15 or 16. He then went over to Australia and he became a big star over there.
“He gave that all up, that earning ability, to come home to Tyrone. We’re more than appreciative of all that Conor has done and we just hope there’s plenty more to come from him. “
Tyrone’s prospect of avoiding an upset have also received a further boost with the news that All-Star defender Peter Harte has returned to full training.
The Errigal Ciaran clubman missed the win over Fermanagh after having his appendix removed.
The Donnelly siblings, Mattie and Richie, also missed the seven-point victory in Brewster Park, but their participation remains in doubt at this stage.
“There’s still a while to go before Sunday at 4pm. We assess these things day-to-day with the medical team and the physios are working away, ”said Logan.
“Mattie and Richie (Donnelly) are working hard. Petey (Harte) is working well and is back in training.
“We have to hope we’ve no further injuries between now and Sunday.”
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