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ISA's ban on student is criticised

16th May 1997
CRITICISM has been levied over the Irish Sailing Association's decision to mete out the first ever eligibility ban on an Irish yachtsman for alleged gross misconduct. A Dublin University helmsman has received a suspended ban but his Trinity team-mates have said the situation has been blown out of all proportion and the punishment is unwarranted. An ISA investigation into a shoreside incident at the 1997 British University Sailing Association (BUSA) championship in Glasgow a month ago has resulted in Conor Barry (24) being handed down an eligibility suspension from college team racing by the national authority following a hearing under the new (International Sailing Federation) ISAF rule 69.2. The ISAF rule states: When a national authority receives a report alleging a gross breach of misconduct of a rule or of good manners or sportsmanship or conduct that brought the sport into disrepute, it may conduct an investigation and when appropriate shall conduct a hearing. It may then take any disciplinary action within its jurisdiction. When contacted, Barry would make no comment about the incident which is understood to have occurred after a celebration dinner at Glasgow University.
The Irish Sailing Association's secretary general Paddy Boyd issued a statement about the disciplinary action to The Irish Times yesterday: "At the request of the British University Sailing Association championship protest committee a hearing was held into an alleged misconduct incident. Following the ISA hearing, Mr Conor Barry was suspended from University sailing for one year with effect from May 97. Such suspension to be suspended for one year. Trinity team captain James O'Callaghan defended his team-mate: "Considering previous rule 75 cases and the finding of this particular hearing, the suspension seems a bit harsh." The suspended ban will not affect Barry's plans to compete at the Laser II world championships to be held in Crosshaven in August or his Skiff class racing but under the international rule a file of the incident will now be sent by the ISA to the RYA. At Barry's club in Malahide there has been criticism of the severity of the penalty. The ISA president Neil Murphy, himself a member of the north Dublin club, commented: "I've known Conor for years as both a fellow club member and a crew and have the highest opinion of him. I think a lot of people who have competed at university team racing events will probably breathe a sigh of relief when they hear about this and say `there but for the grace of God go I'. Having said that however, we expect high standards of behaviour from visiting sailors and it is only reasonable that our sailors meet the same standards when abroad." Meanwhile, on Dublin Bay, a potent line-up of 1720s will add extra spice to the first race of Ireland's biggest summer sailing series, the Carlsberg-sponsored Royal Alfred Yacht Club Superleague tomorrow. At a winter egm the club updated its amateur status rule and while the wording might have been altered there has been effectively no change to its meaning - and those who earn a living from racing boats are still debarred. Category B sailing for sponsored boats is now catered for in the new sportsboat class and though provided with a start last season, tomorrow will be the first proper fleet start for the new sportsboat class under the Royal Alfred burgee. Up to 500 sailors crewing 120 boats are expected for the first of the 10-race series, hosted by the Royal St George YC, which gets under way in 13 classes on Dublin Bay tomorrow at 1 pm. The 1720s will race over a windward-leeward course with the Dragon and J24 one-design fleets. Time-Out sailed by the Royal St George's Barry O'Neill is a favourite in the new sportsboat class but Finn Lyden's entry into the class in Just Magic has already produced encouraging results in the east coast championships a fortnight ago. The Superleague continues on May 25th with a full weekend of one design keelboat racing for the Baily bowl. Separately, commodore Dick Lovegrove has been encouraged by the response to next weeks RAYC overnight race from Howth YC. Introduced last season with eight starters the fleet is expected to swell to 12 for next Friday's start off Howth. A skippers' briefing to include course details will be held at Howth YC at 7.30pm In Wexford tomorrow, East Antrim's Colin Lough defends his Optimist Leinster title and also his overall lead in the worlds team selection in the final series of six races hosted by Wexford Harbour BC.
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