Comment: GAA need to close off the blood sub loophole

I’m led to believe Stephen Cluxton had blood in his mouth following that first-half clash with James McGivney, so the conspiracy theorists won’t be happy.

Cluxton also looked to have suffered concussion too, which shouldn’t be treated lightly either.

Yes, Dublin did use seven substitutes and the blood sub loophole was again taken advantage of but, as has been the case in the past, the team in question did nothing technically wrong.

It might say something that it happens so much in football whereas it’s a rarity in hurling but it’s simply going to continue to happen again and again so long as the rule isn’t changed.

Putting a time limit on a temporary replacement before it becomes permanent is something that has to be looked at.

The rule itself was brought in because it didn’t look good or wasn’t in the interest of a player to be quickly patched up and thrown back into the game with blood still streaming from a wound or cut.

You’d hate to see a situation like what transpired with Harlequins in 2009 where the blood sub ruling could be abused more than exploited, but then there would be little reason to believe it would happen in Gaelic games, even with the stakes so high.

What happened to Cluxton was unfortunate, although the same can’t be said about McGivney who earned his red card as he had either acted in a dangerous way to an opponent and/or inflicting injury recklessly. Maurice Deegan got it right.

However, Jonny Cooper was lucky to remain on the field. He was yellow carded already before he struck Dessie Reynolds, which if detected would have seen him shown a second one. 

Maurice’s view of it mightn’t have been clear. Cooper is the only Dublin player who is always playing on the edge and he will have to be careful.

In Navan on Saturday, Paddy Neilan required a garda escort off the field and it didn’t look good that a manager would confront him like that after extra-time. 

But if anything Meath shouldn’t have been given the free that brought them to within a point of Tyrone which has been missed with all the talk about the free that was overlooked by Neilan at the death.

In the sixth minute, Paddy played great advantage for the Tyrone goal.

However, his umpires then got caught on a couple of occasions and their positioning wasn’t great.

The second yellow for Ben Brennan was merited although it bordered on red, and Tiernan McCann was caught committing an inexcusable act by the linesman and deserved his red card.

We used to speak in Croke Park about the need for a slow whistle, and Paddy could have used one towards the end of normal time because it would have been good refereeing to allow Tyrone develop an attack where they might have possibly been in for a goal.

That advice would also apply to Paud O’Dwyer in Thurles yesterday too as it seemed he had blown prior to Billy McCarthy putting the ball in the Clare net.

Clare didn’t really appear to complain so it was a let-off, but had their goalkeeper Donal Tuohy stopped on hearing it or it had a bearing on the result, there might have been a problem. Paud did keep his hand up to signal advantage all the way.

A slow whistle is one thing but HawkEye was desperately slow even though it did come to Paud’s aid when umpires wrongly felt a John Conlon shot was good in the first half.

HawkEye was working fine but the scoreboard element of it wasn’t, and it wasn’t until the second half and a reboot that it was showing ‘Tá’ and ‘Níl’.

Pádraic Maher should have picked up a yellow card earlier than he did for fouling Conlon, yet I felt Seamus Kennedy was unlucky to be shown the same for a foul on the same player. But credit where it is due: in what was Paud’s second Munster game I think he’s really getting up to the tempo of the matches.

In Nowlan Park on Saturday, James McGrath looked more comfortable than his first couple of games. The main talking point was Lee Chin and Paddy Deegan’s row in the first half, and people in the stadium insist Chin struck Deegan, but the TV footage was inconclusive.

There was good consultation between James and his umpires, who didn’t put up the flag despite Paul Morris sending the ball between the posts, because they had seen a foul on Deegan in the build-up and a free out was awarded.

Davy Fitzgerald felt aggrieved afterwards and there were a couple of times when Wexford didn’t seem to pick up frees, like Pádraig Walsh touching the ball on the ground, but there was no point blaming the ref for the result.


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