GAA must get tough on sideline spats

GAA must get tough on sideline spats
Picture: Inpho

It now seems with every week that the GAA are being given more reason to cut down on the numbers populating the sidelines.

After the Greg Kennedy and Davy Fitzgerald incidents last month, what Clare co-manager Gerry O’Connor did to Daniel Kearney in Ennis has all but made certain the whitewash is going to be a lonelier place in the future.

The day is coming when there will only be one management person from each team permitted on the sideline and can the GAA be blamed for that?

Not after what we’ve seen so far this summer.

O’Connor’s behaviour was just bewildering. His actions were out of character, number one, but number two out of place and there was no need to interfere with a player. 

Children are looking at these things and what impression is it making on them? Like a lot of things, what happens at inter-county level trickles down to club games and these sorts of actions really have to be eradicated for the sake of the game.

What is just as prevalent at the moment is the amount of cynicism coming into hurling matches and after plenty of it in Nowlan Park last week there was more in Semple Stadium.

It started with Seán Finn pulling down John McGrath in the first half and he was yellow carded but then so too were the likes of Tipperary’s Seán O’Brien for lunging in and Paudie Maher for a deliberate trip in the second half and you do have to wonder if it’s enough.

In the next year or two, the GAA will be justified in introducing a black card for hurling because these sort of fouls are clearly only about one thing. 

The yellow card is fine for fouls like those made by John O’Dwyer and Diarmuid Byrnes for careless use of the hurley but cynicism is a debate that’s not going to finish any time soon.

Seán Cleere had an okay game in Thurles without being brilliant and his decision to allow Seamus Callanan’s goal will be scrutinised. 

It is a foul to throw the ball for an advantage and that’s what he appeared to do in getting past the Limerick defender.

It’s a hard one to call and I made one a few years ago in an All-Ireland semi-final as a player ran out of space on the sideline.

Gerry O'Connor. Picture: Sportsfile
Gerry O'Connor. Picture: Sportsfile

On Saturday evening, Fergal Horgan had an excellent game in Wexford Park and I feel really contributed to what was a great battle. 

He will be criticised for not blowing the whistle as often as he could have but he facilitated a cracking game.

He showed Liam Ryan a yellow card for what seemed like an off-the-ball infringement but it seemed to be more about persistent fouling.

Matthew O’Hanlon and TJ Reid were both correctly yellow-carded — that issue of fist-pumping coming to the fore again — and when O’Hanlon made a rash foul late on he could have no complaints about being sent off.

Rory O’Connor was fortunate to be only yellow-carded for that wild pull when Fergal had spoken to him in the first half. 

Eoin Murphy’s feet were high in making a save but you could give him the benefit of the doubt. Aidan Nolan was sent off late on but the TV cameras didn’t pick up the incident in question. Kilkenny will feel aggrieved that they didn’t win more frees, particularly Billy Ryan.

In the Connacht final, Barry Cassidy was correct not to give Galway a penalty in the 10th minute. 

Hubert Darcy could have been yellow carded for a foul on Shane Walsh as Ian Burke earned one for a similar tackle on Cathal Cregg.

Galway’s indiscipline in the second half was shocking and it wasn’t a surprise Barry showed so many yellow cards to the hosts, but he might have been a bit hard on them in the closing stages. Otherwise, he handled a difficult game well in difficult conditions.

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