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Heineken Cup
O'Connell striking appeal dismissed
ESPNscrum Staff
December 23, 2010
Munster lock Paul O'Connell waits for the kick-off, Northampton Saints v Munster, Heineken Cup, Franklin's Gardens, October 10, 2009
Paul O'Connell has lost his appeal against a striking ban © Getty Images
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Munster lock Paul O'Connell has failed in his bid to get a four-week ban for striking Ospreys No.8 Jonathan Thomas overturned by a European Rugby Cup (ERC) appeals panel.

The Ireland international was sent off after 69 minutes of Munster's Thomond Park victory over their Welsh rivals 11 days ago, having been introduced from the replacements' bench after a long layoff with a groin injury.

He subsequently received a four-week suspension, with Judge Jeff Blackett ruling that O'Connell's act had been deliberate but with no intention to injure.

The former British & Irish Lions skipper appealed against both the four-week sanction and the finding of foul play but a three-man appeals panel chaired by Professor Lorne Crerar (Scotland) determined that O'Connell had not demonstrated the original decision had been in error or that it should be overturned or varied, and therefore dismissed the appeal.

He is now free to play again on January 10, meaning that he will miss Munster's next three Magners League games but be able to face Toulon and London Irish in vital Heineken Cup ties at the end of January.

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