Gary Hamilton freed for Glenavon in latest suspension row twist

Gary Hamilton is free to play for Glenavon against Dungannon Swifts
Gary Hamilton is free to play for Glenavon against Dungannon Swifts

Glenavon player-manager Gary Hamilton has been cleared to play in Friday's Premiership match against Dungannon.

Hamilton had accepted a touchline ban after being dismissed from the bench during a stormy game against Linfield.

He subsequently played, and scored, in a victory over Glentoran who protested over his availability for the fixture.

In the latest twist to the suspension row, the IFA have informed Hamilton that he is free to play on Friday as Glentoran's appeal has not been heard.

Hamilton was shown a red card while sitting in the dugout during a league match against Linfield four weeks ago and was sent to the stands.

The Irish Football Association decided he would serve a touchline ban, believing he had been dismissed in his role as a manager and not a substitute.

The former Northern Ireland striker was cleared by the IFA to line out against Glentoran and scored two goals in the 4-2 victory but subsequently accepted a £100 fine and a one game touchline ban, which he was due to serve against Dungannon.

However a letter from the IFA this week informed Hamilton the suspension will not be enforced until the appeal is heard.

Referee Robert Crangle sends off Glenavon defender William Murphy
Glenavon defender William Murphy was shown a straight red card midway through the first half against Cliftonville

Glenavon captain Shane McCabe has also been cleared from suspension after an appeal against a two-game ban was upheld on a technicality.

McCabe and defender William Murphy received two match suspensions for comments made on social media after the defeat to Linfield.

Murphy's appeal was also upheld, but his red card against Cliftonville last week automatically rules him out of Friday night's game at Stangemore Park (GMT 19:45).

Kevin Braniff serves the final game of his suspension but James Singleton is free to return after sitting out the Mourneview Park defeat against Cliftonville.

The Swifts are without Dermot McCaffrey, who is expected to be out for three to four weeks, after sustaining a broken nose.

Grant Hutchinson is also missing until the latter part of December with a hamstring strain, while David McCullough will also sit out Friday night's encounter after suffering concussion in the defeat by Portadown.

Elsewhere on Friday night, Ballinamallard Utd host Warrenpoint (GMT 20:00).

The Mallards have David Kee and Johnny Lafferty suspended for the visit of Barry Gray's outfit, who have collected just one point from seven league outings.

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