By Peter O’Dwyer
Former inter-county stars Tomás O’Sé, Owen Mulligan and Dermot Earley have come out in support of Dublin footballer Eoghan O’Gara after accusations of biting an opponent in Sunday’s Leinster final were levelled against him.
Meath manager Mick O’Dowd told reporters in the aftermath of Meath’s 3-20 to 1-10 defeat to Dublin that a Dublin player had bitten Mickey Burke during the game.
The allegation refers to an incident between O’Gara, Burke and, subsequently, a number of other players after 62 minutes which garnered a lot of criticism online and prompted the Meath manager to make the claim to the media.
The three former players all backed the Dublin forward however, saying that he had behaved admirably in restraining himself.
“Just looking at it, Eoghan O’Gara was involved and I think Eoghan O’Gara did very, very well not to react at all. I think he was down on the ground and he got five or six bangs to the head that anyone would have reacted to... I know for a fact that I would have reacted if I was Eoghan O’Gara on that ground,” said former Kerry defender Ó Sé on ‘The Sunday Game’.
“Now there is an allegation that maybe there was a bite of some sort. The way his head was down, there’s no way Eoghan O’Gara went to bite, I think it should just be forgotten about... I think the Meath lads should have a look at themselves, maybe they should have started that fight in the first half," he added.
Earley agreed with his colleague and criticised Meath for lacking aggression throughout the game.
He also said that the match footage is inconclusive and posed the question as to how a player should react if an opponent puts his finger in their mouth – a question reiterated by Mulligan who said, “If somebody puts their finger in your mouth what are you going to do, blow it out?”
The GAA are expected to launch an investigation after the player’s claim was mentioned in referee Padraig Hughes’s match report, while both the Dublin and Meath camps have declined to comment on the matter too.
The incident is the third such allegation levelled against a Dublin player in the last two seasons following Jason Whelan’s eight-week suspension in January and the similar claim made against Kevin O’Brien in 2013 that was eventually dismissed following evidence from Donegal’s Paddy McBrearty; the supposed victim.