CONNACHT LOCK MIKE McCarthy has been cleared of any wrongdoing by the RaboDirect Pro12 disciplinary committee.
The second row had been cited for making contact with the ‘eye area’ of Cardiff Blues’ Tom Ryder on May 5.
A previous case, involving Alan Quinlan had resulted in a 12 week ban.
However, after hearing evidence from both Ryder and McCarthy, the panel decided that the complaint should not be upheld.
A statement from the governing body said:
“While the disciplinary committee found that there had been contact with an area in close proximity to the eye, it applied a test from previous cases as to the meaning of ‘eye area’ and found that Mike McCarthy had not made contact with the ‘eye area’. Mike McCarthy is therefore free to play.”
A ban anywhere close to that received by Quinlan would have ended McCarthy’s chances of playing for Ireland on this summer’s tour to New Zealand.
With Paul O’Connell injured and Mick O’Driscoll retired, second row is an area which should provide an opportunity for players on the fringe of Declan Kidney’s squad to stake a claim on a test jersey this summer.