Carlow have been dealt a significant blow just days away from their 2019 Football Championship bow. The GAA's Central Appeals Committee (CAC) have upheld the bans handed down to manager Turlough O'Brien, coach Stephen Poacher and midfielder Brendan Murphy.
All three were found guilty of "Minor physical interference with a referee" and "threatening conduct towards a referee" following the Barrowsiders' League defeat to Down in March. The CAC dismissed their appeals last night, after having the cases referred back from the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA).
The trio confronted referee James Bermingham following that loss to Down which condemned Carlow to relegation back to Division 4. All three were aggrieved that Bermingham blew his full-time whistle while Carlow were on the attack and there was a single point between the sides. Bermingham was then seen to be surrounded by an irate Carlow contingent.
Carlow begin their Leinster Football Championship campaign on Saturday evening with a quarter final against Meath at O'Moore Park. Barring another appeal to the DRA - which is still open to the trio - then selectors Benji O'Brien and Tommy Wogan will man the sideline in Portlaoise. None of the three are allowed take part in training during the course of their bans.
Unless a final DRA appeal is successful, O'Brien will miss the entirety of Carlow's Championship campaign.