O'Donovan Cops 10 Games

Jet banned for kung-fu kick

O'Donovan Cops 10 Games Getty Images

Roy O'Donovan has been slugged with a 10-match ban for his A-League grand-final kung-fu kick on Lawrence Thomas.

After deliberating for three days following Tuesday night's hearing, Football Federation Australia's disciplinary and ethics committee came down hard on the Newcastle striker's behaviour in injury-time of this month's 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory.

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

Only Danny Vukovic has received a bigger suspension in the A-League, the former Mariners custodian copping a nine-month ban for striking a referee in 2008. 

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. 

O'Donovan has seven days to appeal the sanction.

The Irishman was shown a straight red card and charged with serious foul play after his studs caught Victory's goalkeeper Thomas flush in the jaw in the 93rd minute at McDonald Jones Stadium. 

During Tuesday's three-hour hearing O'Donovan's representation conceded his head-high lunge into Thomas' face was "careless" and "reckless" but argued he'd made a genuine play for the ball as part of a desperate attempt to equalise in the game's final seconds.

But 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.

FFA's counsel Ivan Griscti also observed "it does appear that the player is looking at the goalkeeper". 

O'Donovan also pleaded his case at length via video link from his native Ireland, claiming his vision was blurred after copping a stray elbow from Besart Berisha moments earlier and contending he didn't realise he'd made contact with Thomas' head until he approached him to apologise after the match.

 

A-LEAGUE'S BIGGEST BANS

Danny Vukovic: nine months (three months suspended) - striking a referee

Roy O'Donovan: 10 games - kicking

Tiago Calvano: eight games (four suspended) - holding a referee

Kevin Muscat: eight games - serious foul play

Roy O'Donovan: eight games - headbutting

Ney Fabiano: six games - spitting

 

AAP

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