Director general Tom Ryan defends GAA's handling of Kilmacud-Glen controversy

The Association chief says it would have been 'completely inappropriate' to direct the process.
Director general Tom Ryan defends GAA's handling of Kilmacud-Glen controversy

Ard Stiúrthóir of the GAA Tom Ryan speaking during the GAA Annual Report Launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

GAA director general Tom Ryan has defended the organisation’s leadership not to intervene or clarify the disciplinary process in the Kilmacud Crokes-Glen All-Ireland senior club football saga.

As Crokes look set to challenge the Central Competitions Control Committee’s verdict to order a replay to the Central Appeals Committee, Ryan explained why neither he nor GAA president Larry McCarthy became involved in the matter.

While McCarthy was loathe to discuss the matter – “The process is in place and it will work itself out," he said. "Any comments on it at this stage would be inappropriate” – Ryan said it would have been wholly inappropriate to wade in on a live case.

“I don’t really think it helps matter too much if we dive in. The worst thing we could possibly do is, and I’ve seen this mentioned in dispatches the GAA to step in (because) there’s a deficit there, the GAA should intervene and direct something.

“I have never picked up the phone on the CCCC or anybody on the CCCC to say, ‘Derek (Kent, CCCC chairman), this is the way I want this to go’. I will not do that. Any suggestion implied or explicit that in some way we should have been directing something, that’s completely wrong. Completely inappropriate.

“To the extent that people don’t get that, that’s okay. It’s a pity but certainly I don’t think it would have added to things terribly much if we were to come out and re-enforce that you (Gaelic games media) had already communicated very well in terms of this is the way it has to play out.

“The safest thing we can do is to abide by the process that is tried and trusted, and it works. We have to be really careful not to intervene but to undermine that process either.” 

Asked if an exception could have been made for an All-Ireland final, Ryan said: “No is the answer because to my mind if you’re playing junior D football in west Kerry or are an All-Star from Antrim it’s the same disciplinary system and people are entitled to have the same rigour applied to irrespective of how good you are or the level you’re playing at.

“Also, that competition started out with the normal disciplinary regime attached to it, the first round of various county championships, and it’s appropriate that the same regime would apply at the pinnacle of it as well. I wouldn’t be in favour of a two-tier or multi-tier disciplinary system based on how good players are.”

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