independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

O'Neill takes aim at Donegal over collapse of 'Bitegate' case

Paddy McBrearty

IN a thinly-veiled sideswipe at Donegal, GAA president Liam O'Neill has expressed disappointment after the high-profile proposed disciplinary proceedings against Dublin's Kevin O'Brien fell apart.

O'Brien took his proposed three-game suspension to the GAA's Central Hearings Committee (CHC) last week following an investigation by the Central Competitions Controls Committee (CCCC) into an alleged bite on Donegal star Paddy McBrearty.

And while that meeting was attended by Donegal officials and medical staff, the case could not be pursued after McBrearty failed to appear to give evidence.

"Our system worked the best it could," O'Neill said yesterday. "A case had to be built, that was done. A decision was made based on the evidence in front of the CCCC, a penalty was recommended.

"People who had evidence didn't show and that's it. There's nothing we can do about it. Our system has improved dramatically. It works when people co-operate with it and tell what happened – that didn't happen in this case.

"A case like this highlights how well it works in most cases. We were left with flimsy evidence and depending on direct evidence, which didn't show. That was it.

"The ideal thing would have been having set the wheels in motion that the process would have been seen through. I think there's a certain level of disappointment with this case.

"It left people who acted in good faith with an outcome that wasn't satisfactory."

The Laois official also revealed that the GAA are exploring the possibility of replacing the minor grade with an U-17 competition.

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