96-week suspension for Gaelic football player Patrick Power 

A Gaelic football club player has been suspended for 96 weeks by the San Francisco Gaelic Athletic Association for his involvement in a June fracas on Treasure Island that left another player in a coma.

Patrick Power, the suspended Celts player and person of interest in a criminal case being sought by San Francisco police, has not formally been charged as investigators are still asking witnesses to come forward.

Power allegedly sparked an off-the-ball incident that ended in major injury for Irishman Mark McGovern, the Ulster San Francisco club player who suffered brain trauma and was hospitalized for weeks. He woke up from a coma earlier this month and began talking to his family, who came from Ireland to live in The City while he recovers.

Joe Duffy, Ulster San Francisco coach, said similar transgressions involving game officials have resulted in lifetime suspensions for players in Ireland. Duffy said the Celts didn’t show up to a match against Ulster Tuesday night, even though it would have playoff implications for other teams.

“It’s a tough time for everyone,” Duffy said. “But the best part about all of it is that Mark’s recovery has been incredible over the past two weeks.”

The GAA Competition Control Committee chairman Eamonn Gormley told the BBC the decision to suspend Power for nearly two years was the proper one, and that it’s is the maximum allowable penalty under the applicable rule.

Duffy added that people in San Francisco have been supportive of the McGovern family with meals and other help. McGovern was recently moved from San Francisco General Hospital’s intensive care unit to a rehabilitation center at Laguna Honda Hospital, and is sure to face expensive medical bills. A fundraising committee and website have been set up to help his cause and keep people abreast of benefit events.


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