GAA Director General Páraic Duffy admitted it was “unacceptable” Patrick McBrearty suffered a bite against Dublin and it was embarrassing for the Association that “nobody was held to account.”
Donegal officials provided both photographs and medical reports to prove their corner-forward had been bitten in Donegal’s Allianz National League Division One draw against Dublin in Ballybofey last month.
The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) initially proposed a three-match ban for Dublin corner-back Kevin O’Brien.
However O’Brien chose not to accept the ban, for what the CCCC deemed a Category Three offence, and was eventually cleared by the Central Hearings Committee (CHC).
“It is unacceptable that a player did suffer a bite and that no-one was held to account and I think everyone has to look at the part they played in that,” Duffy said at the launch of RTÉ’s Championship coverage in Dublin yesterday.
“In terms of our processes, I believe they were fair. They were robust and I think we could not have done any more. The case collapsed because of lack of evidence and that’s the reality of it.
“But short of someone admitting it and owning up to it, the only other way of producing an outcome was that the player would attend a hearing and say ‘I was bitten by ...’.
“He chose not to do that and that’s the player’s right to do that. From the GAA’s point of view, I accept that it has been damaging. It has damaged the reputation of the Association that a player suffered a bite and nobody was held to account.”
GAA President Liam O’Neill admitted the week before last that the CHC were left with only “flimsy evidence” after 19-year-old McBrearty made the decision not to attend the hearing.
At last Thursday’s Championship press night in Ballybofey, Donegal manager Jim McGuinness, hit back at O’Neill’s remarks and launched a stern defence of his player.
“Patrick was bit,” he said. “We knew he was bit at half-time. Our doctor confirmed he was bit. The Dublin doctor confirmed he was bit. The hospital who took him in confirmed he was bit.
“The thing was reported to the referee and was put into the hands of the CCCC. They had a strong enough case to ban the player and in the last two weeks I am reading negative articles about Patrick, and he was the victim in this.
“The Dublin player in question apologised to him after the game for what he had done. The young fella didn’t want to go to the hearing and that’s the bottom line. It wasn’t up to Patrick, in my opinion, to win the case for the CCCC.”
Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle said on Friday he believed talk on the matter should be put to an end.
“It’s over,” Kettle said. “There was a Dublin player cited. He went through the disciplinary procedure of the organisation. There was found to be no evidence against him, so as far as Dublin are concerned, it’s over. A player is innocent until proven guilty and the Dublin player cited has been pilloried while being exonerated by the procedure.
“If it were Dublin, Dublin would have accepted the verdict of the disciplinary process and left it at that.”