BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: GAA's administration of discipline under the microscope

Staff reporter


Staff reporter

BRIAN MCENIFF COLUMN: GAA's administration of discipline under the microscope

Damien Cleary in action for Aodh Ruadh against Naomh Ultan on Sunday in the Intermediate Championship

Waterford reached the All-Ireland hurling final for the first time in 58 years to set up a novel final pairing with Galway.

This was a great result for the game of hurling and it is good to see two new teams in the final.

It was a good news story, unless, obviously if you were from Cork.

But that is not how things have worked out since.

Last week was a bad week for the Association and their administration of justice.

The Association’s ability to administer justice in a fair and even handed manner has been put under the microscope once again.

I don't for one minute wish to see the young Waterford hurle,r Austin Gleeson, miss out on playing in the All-Ireland final. But rules are rules and if they were applied as they should have last year’s hurler of the year would have been in bother.

Now, maybe it is a case of the punishment of a one match ban at this time of the year far outweighing the crime.

It is an argument one would find hard to disagree with.

There is a big difference in serving a one match ban back in February or March and missing a league game than missing an All-Ireland final.

Television footage did show that Austin Gleeson did appear to pull on the helmet of a Cork player in last Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final.

The suspension for such an offence is a one match ban which if applied would mean that he would have missed out on the final.

But he escaped any sanction because the referee nor none of his officials saw the incident.

The Central Controls Competitions Committee did review the case at their meeting early last week.

But they threw it back into the lap of referee James Owens who seemingly said that he was happy with the way he refereed the game and did not wish to add anything to his original report.

Obviously, the original report made no reference to the incident and therefore the CCCC took the decision that when the referee felt no action was required their hands were tied.

This despite they had the evidence in front of them from the TV footage.

Gleeson’s team mate Tadgh dé Burca, who missed last Sunday’s semi-final for a similar offence, must be wondering what he did different.

Dé Burca went through the GAA’s whole appeals process right up to the Disputes Resolution Authority to no avail.

The offence was introduced for safety reasons and fears of serious injury. And a lot of serious hurling people were outraged with the decision this week.

But after last weekend the rule, and how it is applied, needs to be reviewed.

Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack.