The GAA have confirmed they are investigating a possible spitting offence on Paul Galvin in last month’s All-Ireland intermediate club final between Finuge and Fr Rock’s, Cookstown.
The news comes as Galvin was yesterday forced to issue a statement on his personal website categorically stating he was spat on by a Cookstown player in the February 9 game in Croke Park.
As of yesterday evening, the video footage of the incident had received over 34,000 views on YouTube.
However, on Monday, Cookstown and Tyrone footballer Owen Mulligan counter claimed Finuge made “sick and vile sectarian abuse comments” during the game.
Earlier yesterday, Galvin tweeted: “To say i am disappointed and saddened by Eoin (sic) Mulligans comments this morning is an understatement.”
The 2009 footballer-of-the-year later released a 269-word statement in which he wrote, “that I have to defend myself or clarify my position in this regard is as disappointing as it is wrong.”
Released on YouTube last week, the 33-second clip from the game has come to the attention of Croke Park.
“The GAA are currently looking into it,” an Association spokesperson told the Irish Examiner. “It is now a matter for the CCCC (Central Competitions Control Committee).
“It was not brought to our attention at the time, however, and has only come to light in the last 24 hours.”
Referee on the day, Longford’s Fergal Kelly, is now likely to be asked whether he saw the incident. If not, the CCCC could write to both clubs seeking clarification on what happened before taking further action.
A clearly disgruntled Galvin opened his statement by verifying he was subjected to the unsightly act.
He also adamantly disassociated himself from suggestions made by Mulligan that insulting remarks were made towards Cookstown players.
“Further to recent YouTube footage and press reports relating to a spitting incident in last month’s Intermediate club final I would like to 100% confirm for the record that I was spat on during the game.
“Furthermore I will utterly and unequivocally distance myself from claims made regarding verbal abuse during the game,” the statement read.
Galvin took exception to Mulligan’s claim, which originally appeared on the Tyrone player’s Facebook page, that Kerry football were “trying to downgrade a clubmate and my great club, it has gone too far and is turning into sour grapes.”
He insisted he had never made any issue of the incident following the game. He wrote: “I will also add that I made no comment or complaint, publicly or privately, at the time of the incident, as when the game finishes it is finished in my view and I have no interest in dragging this matter out.
“I am only doing so now as footage of the incident found its way into the public domain and for some reason I have been forced to confirm what I know to have happened.”
Galvin congratulated Cookstown on their victory and insisted he had reconciled himself with the defeat.
“I have played in 12 All-Ireland finals in both codes, winning 8, and this is one All-Ireland I can live without.”
He also expressed alarm at the manner in which the relationship between Kerry and Tyrone has degenerated in recent years.
“Tyrone football is full of men I admire greatly, men like Mickey Harte and Peter Canavan, who, when I was 16-years-old sought me out after a schools game against Cookstown and told me “you’ll play for your county one day son.” Those words inspired me many times growing up.
“The path that the Kerry/Tyrone rivalry has taken of late disappoints me. Both counties are better than the bitterness and rancour that currently exists. I will make no further comment on the matter at this point.”
Last Friday, a video snippet capturing a Cookstown player approaching Galvin and directing his head towards the Kerry player was released on YouTube.
Galvin was then seen wiping the left side of his face and then seemingly pointing out to Mulligan the actions of his team-mate.
It remains to be seen whether the footage conclusively proves Galvin was spat on although when paused it would appear that an exchange did occur between the players.
Video evidence is deemed admissible by the GAA providing the disciplinary committee in question is satisfied it is “reliable and unedited”.
Given the footage, Galvin’s claim would appear to be a lot stronger than those made by Mulligan. Spitting is a category two offence, which carries a minimum four-week ban at club level.
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