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Ballinderry’s Kevin McGuckin cleared to play in Ulster final

Ballinderry Shamrocks v Kilcoo Owen Roes - AIB Ulster Senior Club Football Championship Semi-Final

BY CHRIS MCNULTY

KEVIN McGuckin has been cleared to face Glenswilly in next Sunday’s Ulster senior club final.

The Ballinderry defender had a suspension overturned by the Ulster Council on Thursday night.

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McGuckin was red carded in last weekend’s semi-final against Kilcoo at the Athletic Grounds. Referee Martin Higgins, on the advice of linesman Noel Mooney, sent McGuckin off for striking Kilcoo’s Ryan Johnston after 22 minutes.

It is believed that Kilcoo player Johnston appeared as a witness at Thursday’s meeting of the Ulster Hearings Committee, held in Armagh. McGuckin attended the hearing in person and the 32-year old has expressed his relief at being handed the reprieve.

“I have been on egg shells for the past few days,” he said.

“My full focus is now on the Ulster final against Glenswilly.”

McGuckin’s red card was downgraded to a yellow, which will come as a boost to the Ballinderry manager, Martin McKinless, who blasted the decision following last week’s 1-10 to 0-9 win, in a game that saw four players dismissed.

“Players train all year for days like this and when a silly mistake by an official gets a man sent-off for petty stuff it’s very frustrating,” McKinless had said.

“It’s not often I slate referees but linesmen and referees have to take a hard look at it as these decisions change games. Those decisions were very rash. Kevin never touched him and they (Ulster Council) have to take a hard look at it.”

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