Medical chief defends faceguard sanction after Collins red

Podge Collins

The chairman of the GAA’s medical, scientific and welfare committee has launched a stout defence of the rule which saw Clare hurler Podge Collins red carded during Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier clash against Wexford at Cusack Park.

Collins tugged at Wexford midfielder David Redmond’s faceguard and was red-carded by referee Cathal McAllister. Ger Ryan, chairman of the medical, scientific and welfare committee which recommended the rule be tabled at Congress, said it is a necessity to prevent serious injury.

Medical advice furnished to the committee, revealed Ryan, showed interference with a players helmet can lend itself to contrecoup.

The brain injury occurs as a result of damage to the brain on the side opposite to the side which received the initial blow. Skull fracture, bruising, blood clot and tearing of brain tissue are the primary consequences of contrecoup.

“Of course I stand behind this rule, as does my committee,” stressed Ryan.

“We feel the rule is necessary. The rule was recommended to address the risk of serious injury and in particular, contrecoup type injuries. The advice from the medical people on our committee was that interference with a helmet could potentially cause contrecoup. It was with that risk in mind and in terms of injury prevention why I believe Congress accepted the motion to move this from a yellow to a red card offence.”

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald labelled the rule a “joke”, claiming players should only be sent off for hurting an opponents. Clare officials appeared uncertain of the rule at the time of Collins’ sending off, berating referee Cathal McAllister either side of half-time. However implementation, continued Ryan, is not a matter for his committee.

“The GAA communicates all rule changes to County Boards and so on. It is a matter for them to communicate to all the relevant bodies at club and county level that this is the rule.”

Clare selector Louis Mulqueen said an appeal from the Banner camp was unlikely: “If the referee is adamant it is a pulling of the faceguard I don’t know can you [appeal]. It is the first I have seen all year to get a red card.

“It was unlucky because Podge had done two weeks of good hurling and we were hoping for him to be in the game. We didn’t have him long enough and that is the way it goes.”

Meanwhile, director of games administration and player welfare Feargal McGill has ruled out an investigation from GAA top-brass into the tunnel altercation involving Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald, Clare Champion journalist Peter O’Connell and board secretary Pat Fitzgerald which broke out following Saturday’s drawn game.


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