TONY CONSIDINE: GAA hierarchy will destroy hurling

The GAA — they used to be indecisive, now they’re just not so sure anymore. What’s going on? Who’s in charge in the GAA?

On the basis of a letter from a former hurler, a complaint from a county team manager, why does Liam O’Neill suddenly announce an open forum to discuss hurling? If I write a letter to Croke Park in the morning, will I get an official discussion going?

Let’s get one straight — there are problems in hurling, big problems. Just go back to last year’s All-Ireland minor semi-final, Limerick against Galway, the first half; everyone in the ground knew Limerick had got a score, why wasn’t that sorted out straight away? Wasn’t that why we got in Hawk-Eye? Who paid for that mistake, apart from the Limerick youngsters who were denied a perfectly good score.

Why wasn’t that obviously wrong decision corrected at half-time, when there was still time?

While we’re on about officials, what about accountability for referees, and for all the other officials? If a player makes a mistake he can be sent off, what happens with referees? I saw a guy making major errors in the Munster final last year yet the same guy then referees the All-Ireland final — what kind of punishment is that?

A referee is there to call the game, that’s his job, likewise his officials, be they on the posts or on the line; if they make a bags of it, they should be called to account.

And while we’re at it, what about the assessors. What are they doing, why do we need them? What are they assessing? It seems to me that the assessor in the stand now has more control of what’s happening on the field than any referee, and we won’t even know who he is.

That’s wrong. I accept a referee has a tough job, why make add to the pressure on him by having someone almost looking over his shoulder, examining every call he makes.

What about the club scene, why are clubs in almost every county still playing most of their hurling in every month other than the summer — isn’t that a far bigger problem for hurling and for the GAA than any cards?

Why aren’t the All-Ireland championship brought forward several weeks, played off in far less time, why does it have to be dragged out?

If we’re into discussion, why not an Open Draw? Why not even trial it at U21 level, see what happens? Better still, trial it at club level and that way you’d get that championship over in the same calendar year.

They’re on about the penalty, and I see where Eddie Keher says it should be hit from the 21-yd line or outside — the same Eddie didn’t hit too many from outside the line himself, and he was never showed too much concern then about the ball hitting a defender, a ball that was a lot heavier and could do more damage.

Biggest question of all, why doesn’t Liam O’Neill put his energy into promoting this game, not just in Ireland but worldwide. We keep on saying it’s the best field-game in the world, well let’s sell it, let’s make it an international spectacle.

All these questions have been there for a long time yet no-one seemed to give a damn, now suddenly we have this discussion because of a few cards issued in the wrong.

Ah, I could go on and on, but honestly, I have no faith in this process. The GAA is worse than the Dáil as a talking-shop, a useless talking-shop, and it seems to have as many equally useless committees and quangos.

Liam O’Neill says he’s responding to a challenge from Kilkenny, well I’m throwing him another challenge now — bring me up, I’ll give you your ideas.

These guys are there to make decisions; make them, but get them right. And if you can’t get them right, get off the pot.

This has all gone on too long. We all know at this stage what the major problems are; sort them out, get it right.

There’s nothing wrong with the game of hurling, the effort, commitment and time being put in by players and management; let the GAA get the rules, regulations and administration right, and I don’t think they need any kind of forum to do that.


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