"It was shameful really" - Joe Brolly on helping to overturn Matthew Fitzpatrick's ban

Antrim footballer had been hit with a 48-week ban by the Central Hearings Committee

"It was shameful really" - Joe Brolly on helping to overturn Matthew Fitzpatrick's ban

Antrim's Matthew Fitzpatrick Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

In the early hours of Thursday morning, Antrim footballer Matthew Fitzpatrick had a proposed 48 week ban overturned 

In a statement released by the GAA on Tuesday afternoon, it was revealed that Fitzpatrick had originally been given the ban for a breach of Rule 7.3 (aa) (4), which reads: "Any Member found by the Hearings Committee to have given deliberately false evidence, whether orally or in writing, or to have deliberately misled any Hearing, shall be suspended for a minimum of 48 weeks, without a further Hearing."

It came off the back of an incident from an ill-tempered Allianz League Division 3 clash in March between Antrim and Armagh. 

Joe Brolly successfully led Antrim's appeal, with The Sunday Game analyst also being a barrister outside the game.

On Thursday night, Brolly joined Off The Ball and gave his take on the situation which he saw as a "really draconian punishment" for the player.

"In truth, the whole thing was embarrassing," said Brolly of the situation, before adding "it was shameful really".

"This was an entirely trivial, unremarkable incident. Basically, this is players jostling under a ball in front of the ref and so whenever Matt was asked, 'Is that you?' He said, 'I genuinely don't know' and that was conflated with 'he's deliberately misled us'".

Brolly added: "I think it was unconscionable what happened."

On the incident as viewed from the match footage, Brolly explained what he saw from his point of view: "I had to ring the boys and say 'look, I think you've sent me the wrong clip' because there's no strike. It looks like there's a small push at the top of the back."

Fitzpatrick is now eligible to take to the field when Antrim play Donegal in Ballybofey on Sunday afternoon.