Down blow after Sands red card upheld

By Michael McMullan

DOWN must prepare for Saturday’s winner takes all showdown with Laois without Eoghan Sands after Thursday’s unsuccessful appeal against a contentious red card in their last outing.

The Portaferry player was sent off in their 3-19 to 1-16 win over Meath in Ballycran.

It was a victory that saw Ronan Sheehan’s side qualify for the League semi-final on score difference, ahead of Kildare.

With the winners set for Division 1B next season and place against Carlow in the final, Saturday’s showdown is significant game for both counties.

Sands was sent off early in the second half after referee Thomas Gleeson deemed his challenge on Padraig O’Hanrahan was dangerous play and brandished his red card.

Commenting to The Irish News after the game Sheehan did have sympathy with referees but was frustrated with inconsistency.

He pointed to a “very similar” Meath tackle leading to a yellow card earlier in the game.

After choosing not to appeal Marc Fisher’s red card in their defeat to Laois back in February, Down felt Sands was unjustly sent off.

Their appeal was unsuccessful on Thursday night and Sands will now miss Saturday’s game despite jetting back from Stockholm where he was based for work this week.

Down won’t make any further appeal and will have all eyes on their trip to Laois.

The Leinster side were 2-18 to 0-17 winners when the sides locked horns in the first game of the season.

Sands was forced off in the game with a wrist injury, Fisher was sent off, Matt Conlon was replaced injured with Finn Turpin sustaining a broken thumb.

Jer Quinlan’s goal had Laois 1-12 to 0-8 ahead at half time and the home side had to fend off a stern Down fightback before Mark Dowling’s goal sealed the deal.

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