Cooney avoids the disciplinary dilemma

THE president of the GAA will not be joining the chorus of disapproval in the wake of Sunday’s events in Celtic Park for fear of prejudicing the inevitable disciplinary measures to come.

A number of players from both Derry and Monaghan face an anxious wait this week as the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) assess the video replays of the fixtures.

The Ulster Championship game was a terrible advertisement for the GAA which would appear to be reaping what it sowed at Congress where the experimental rules failed to receive the necessary two-thirds majority. Christy Cooney would not be drawn on that last point, however.

“I didn’t see the game because I was opening a new pitch and a stand in Ballinamore (Leitrim) yesterday, so I just saw snippets of the highlights last night and the matter is now with the CCCC.

“They will do what is right. I am not going to tell the CCCC what to do. I have appointed people to do a job and I have the utmost confidence in them doing what is right for the association.”

Cooney’s argument is understandable, in one sense, but it is hardly ideal that the Croke Park hierarchy should remain silent on an issue which virtually everyone else not involved on the day has lambasted.

“I am not going to comment,” Cooney added. “because I do not want to be seen as pre-judging anything that may fall out from what happened at Celtic Park so let’s just let the CCCC deal with it and see where we go from there.

“If it is appropriate for me to make a statement on it then I will but I am not making any comment today. That will be my policy, I will not be prejudging or commenting on any disciplinary matters until the CCCC have dealt with them.”

Other contentious matters arose over the weekend. Monaghan’s Ray Ronaghan and Offaly’s Niall Darby attempted points – the latter against Kildare in Portlaoise – that led to some confusion between umpires and referees.

As in previous years, such instances have turned the focus to some sort of technological answer but Cooney doesn’t hold out much hope there, despite studies such as one at NUIG in the past.

“We haven’t given any consideration to it. There is no point in misleading people. We have two umpires, a referee and two linesmen and we feel they are well equipped to do the job.

“Nine times out of 10 the referee is in line with the shot that is being taken and sometimes may even have a better view than the umpires. It would be very hard to stop the game and take a few minutes out to view a video.

“I know it is happening in rugby but it is a different game. There are more stoppages in rugby but continuity is very important in our games. As it stands we have no plans to move into technology.”

The GAA president also declared himself satisfied with attendances two days ago although he did accept the crowd of 10,380 at Celtic Park was short of the 15,000 the Ulster Council was looking for.

Only 12,000 paid in to O’Moore Park in Portlaoise for the Leinster football double-header, 3,500 turned up for Cork and Waterford at Fraher Field and Thurles accommodated just over 1,000 more.

“I was chatting to Jimmy O’Gorman, the chairman of the Munster Council, and he said they were very happy with them. All in all, the feedback from the provinces is attendances are holding up well.”

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