OFFALY hurling manager Joe Dooley has described as a “disgrace” the fact that forward Daniel Currams could sit out three championship matches thanks to the vagaries of the GAA’s disciplinary system.
The Kilcormac/Killoughey clubman was sent off by referee Johnny Ryan during the drawn Leinster semi-final with Galway on June 20 and was subsequently handed a four-week ban for a high tackle described as “dangerous to an opponent”.
Currams has already missed the replay defeat to Galway and will play no part in this Saturday’s All-Ireland qualifier against Limerick in Tullamore as well as the following fixture should Offaly progress.
“He is going to miss two and half matches and, if we win on Saturday night, he will miss three and a half games for a fairly harmless enough offence,” said Dooley.
Currams would have been eligible to play this weekend had a motion calling for match bans been allowed to go to the floor at Congress this year. Instead, it was withdrawn at the request of Croke Park who are in the process of drawing up a similar document.
President Christy Cooney revealed yesterday that a paper would be presented to the management committee in the coming months and that a proposal bringing time-based suspensions to an end would be ready for Congress next year.
That will be little use to Currams but it should, at least, bring to an end the conveyor belt of controversies that arise as a result of what is clearly an “inequitable” system as Dooley described it yesterday.
“We’re working on it,” said Cooney, “and let’s see can we get something that’s equitable and works well, not alone at county level but also at club level. We’ll have a motion on the clár at Congress next year to satisfy all demands.”
The question of technology and its potential use in determining scores has also returned to the debating table as a result of the Offaly-Galway games which threw up a debated Galway point in the drawn tie and a questionable Galway wide in the replay.
Dooley’s Offaly would actually have won the first fixture had Ger Farragher’s first-half sideline not been incorrectly deemed a score.
Cooney is, if anything, ambivalent about the need for technology but his claim that such incidents are “few and far between” will hardly sit well with the Galway footballers who questioned a crucial Sligo point in last Saturday’s Connacht semi-final replay.
Joe Kernan’s men lost that game by a point.
The GAA’s Head of Games, Pat Daly, is looking at the possibility of introducing a system which would detect whether scores dissect the posts but Cooney has concerns about such a system slowing down the games.
“Will it enhance our games? I don’t know. Let’s see if we can get the technology first to do something for us and if it’s worthwhile using it. Then we’ll see where we go and probably pilot it in some club games or some place.
“At this stage I’m not going to be so presumptuous to say that we are going to have the technology there that will satisfy our requirements. I’ve given comments already on this whole process and where do you start and where do you stop with regard to technology in hurling and football?
“One thing I don’t want to do is slow down our game, or have significant breaks in our game. Our games are all about passion and speed and movement and swings and roundabouts and thrills and spills. We’re certainly not going to diminish that in any way.”
Meanwhile, Cooney has claimed that the World Cup has had no impact on GAA attendances despite figures which would suggest that numbers are clearly down from 2009 levels.
The president pointed to TV figures which showed that more people watched the Meath-Dublin game on TV than the Germany-England second-round clash although that argument is somewhat diluted by the fact that the attendance in Croke Park that day was the lowest for a championship clash between the Leinster rivals in modern times and by some distance.
“You tell me some place else in the world where there were 60,000 at a match. Let’s face it, we are in changing times. We are in difficult financial situations and people have only so much money to share around.
“We’re very early in the season so there is no point in judging a situation when we’re only after seeing a certain amount of games.”
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