A-League: Jets striker Roy O’Donovan to faces serious foul play charge forchallenge on Victory keeperphotos

JETS officials claim that Roy O’Donovan’s sightwas affected by a fractured eye socket after the striker was referredto Football Federation ’sDisciplinary and Ethics Committee (DEC) for his moment of mayhem in Saturday’sA-League grand final.
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MARCHING ORDERS: Roy O’Donovan is facing a likely long-term suspension. Picture: Darren Pateman, AAP

O’Donovan was sent off in the dying moments of the Jets’ 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory for a dangerous high-foot challenge on opposing keeper Lawrence Thomas.

The striker’s boot connected flush with Thomas’ jaw, but incredibly the gloveman wasn’t seriously injured.The incident sparked a melee and the feisty Irishman’sactions have since been widely condemned.

The match-review panelcategorised the incident as “serious foul play” when challenging for the balland deemed it severe enough to forward to the independent DECto determine what additional sanction above the mandatory one-match should be applied.

The offence is considered mid-range.O’Donovan will miss at least the Jets’round-of-32 FFA Cup match in the pre-season.

The front man was forced from the field for treatment in the 70th minute of the grand final after he coppedan elbow in the head from Victory strikerBesart Berisha.He returned to the field sportinga cut and lump under his left eye.

“He had scans today, which confirmed he hasa fractured eye socket,” Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said on Monday night. “We have doctor’s support to say that it impacted on his vision. He has gone to win the ball. He hasn’t looked at the keeper until he jumped in the air, and he was committed by that point.It is dangerous play and we would expect him to get two weeks.”

Donovan was photographed after the game apologising to Thomas, who finished the game with his head bandaged.

The pair were once teammates atEnglish lower-division club Coventry.

Blind faith: Jets claim fractured eye socket obscured Roy’s vision TweetFacebook Roy’s red cardPicture: Jonathan Carroll“Lawrence is a mate of his and he wouldn’t intentionally kick a mate,” McKinna said. “He was trying to get a touch on the ball to create something in the dying minutes of a grand final.”

O’Donovan is booked to fly home to Ireland on Thursday for a holiday.

“Roy will find out tomorrow if he can fly,” McKinna said.

“He will have legal representation at the hearing from theProfessional Footballers and if he is overseas, he will appear via Skype.”

The MRP, comprised ofSimon Micallef, Alan Contini and Alan Davidson, ruledBerisha had no case to answer for the contact with O’Donovan.

The red cardwas O’Donovan’s third in three seasons in theA-League.

Hereceived atwo-game ban for striking Sydney defender Jody Buijs in the Jets 2-1 win earlier in the season.

The 32-year-old was outed for eight matchesin 2016, while at the Mariners, for a head-buttonWellington defender Manny Muscat.

Meanwhile, midfielder RonnyVargas will have surgery on Wednesday to remove a screw from his reconstructed left ankle and flies out for Belgium next Monday.

Griffithsmet with the off-contract Vargas on Monday and hopes to sign the Venezuelan marquee to a new deal before he departs.

“Ronnydoes have other options, but hopefully he feels like he hasunfinished business here,” Griffiths said.

“The surgery is routine to remove a screw which hetold me was restricting him in terms of power.

“With a three-monthpre-season he will be bigger and better.”

Fellow South American attackerPato Rodriguez, who arrived in January,appears unlikely to be offered a new contract.