Ten-match ban for former City striker Roy O'Donovan

Paola Ditto
Mag 18, 2018

Roy O'Donovan will miss 10 matches next season after his grand final challenge on Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas was labelled "possibly the most risky play ever made in the A-League".

The club stated: "The Newcastle Jets are extremely disappointed with the outcome of this hearing and will immediately lodge an appeal on O'Donovan's behalf".

It's the second-biggest A-League sanction of all time, eclipsing the eight games O'Donovan himself served two years ago while at Central Coast for headbutting Wellington's Manny Muscat.

The longest ban handed out in the A-League history was a nine-month suspension to Danny Vukovic in 2008 for striking a referee.

It also means the Jets will be without their main marksman for a chunk of next season, although he can serve some of his sentence in the FFA Cup from August.

The incident occurred in the dying minutes of the Grand Final clash between the Jets and the Victory, when O'Donovan lunged at a lofted ball into the box, and caught Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas with his high boot.

Playing hardball: Roy O'Donovan's infamous challenge on Lawrence Thomas in the A-League grand final.

But after viewing video footage and accessing 97 still photographs the disciplinary committee wasn't buying it, contending the "Hail Mary attempt" was always likely to endanger Thomas as he rushed out for the ball.

O'Donovan pleaded his case via video link from his native Ireland, claiming his vision was blurred after copping a stray elbow from Victory's Besart Berisha earlier during the match.

The committee took into account O'Donovan's remorse and submission he "never set out to hurt anybody in my career".

Marshall pushed McKinna to clarify if he believed a striker should not attempt to pull out of a challenge even if contact with another player becomes inevitable.

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