UCD's Conor Kearns and Bohs captain Derek Pender banned for five and four games respectively for post-match fracas

Sun, Jul 28 2019

Kearns has been banned for an additional four games while Pender has been given three more. Credit: Clare McCahill (ETPhotos)

UCD goalkeeper Conor Kearns and Bohemians captain Derek Pender have been banned for five and four games respectively for the post-match fracas after last week’s league game.

Kearns and Pender were banned for their respective fixtures against Shamrock Rovers and St Patrick’s Athletic last Sunday and have been lumped with four and three-game additional bans by the FAI.

Both players were eligible for their weekend fixtures against Waterford and Sligo Rovers as the bans don't kick in until Monday but, while Pender played, Kearns has been suspended separately by his club.

The two players clashed following last week’s 1-0 win for the Students at the UCD Bowl when Pender took exception to Kearns pumping his fists in the direction of the large travelling support.

Bohs manager Keith Long and keeper James Talbot, who has himself been criticised for celebrating in front of Shamrock Rovers fans this season, acted as peacemakers and defused the situation.

Kearns was pelted with coins and bottles as he made his way to the dressing rooms and one Bohemians fan evaded stewards in an attempt to confront Kearns on the steps.

Both players were reported for violent conduct by referee Derek Tomney, while UCD were awarded a 3-0 after Bohs were found to have fielded the suspended Danny Mandroiu.

Kearns will miss four of UCD’s remaining ten games as they battle to avoid relegation, league games against Derry City, Bohemians and Dundalk as well as the FAI Cup tie with Letterkenny Rovers.

Pender will miss Friday’s clash with Finn Harps as well as a league cup meeting with Dundalk and the FAI Cup tie with Shelbourne.

Both players have a right of appeal however UCD are unlikely to challenge the severity of Kearns’ ban after taking their own punitive action.

 “It’s five games, the ban,” UCD manager Collie O’Neill told extratime.ie.

“The club will have to make their mind up on whether they want to appeal it or not, but I do think five games is a little harsh.

“It would be nice to have him back, especially at this time of the season, but it is what it is. We can’t change it. The club will need to see if they want to appeal the decision or not.”

One upshot of the ban may be that suitors are warned off Kearns, whose impressive form has earned attention from clubs across the league.

O’Neill has already lost captain Gary O’Neill, Ireland under-21 winger Neil Farrugia and striker Conor Davis, while defender Liam Scales only returned on Friday as his move to Bristol Rovers stalled.

“Maybe no one in Ireland [will come in for Kearns],” O’Neill joked. “I don’t think anyone else will be going,” added the relieved Drogheda man.