Padraic Duffy blasts Dublin and Donegal in annual report over "reprehensible" response to McBrearty bite
Published 21/01/2014 | 11:19
Dublin and Donegal damaged the reputation of the GAA by their collective failure to hold anyone to account for the "disgusting and shocking" bite sustained by Paddy McBrearty in a league match last April.
n a stinging attack on both counties in his annual report to next month's Congress the GAA's director general Paraic Duffy describes it as "reprehensible" that no one could be held to account for what happened to the young Donegal forward and criticises the lack of leadership in both counties.
A Dublin player was charged for the offence and had a three match ban proposed by the Central Competition Controls Committee but that charge was "not proven" at a subsequent Central Hearings Committee meeting when McBrearty decided not to attend to give evidence.
Duffy's strong comments on the issue come as Leinster Council's CCC probe the latest biting allegation involving Dublin contained in referee David Gough's report on last week's O'Byrne Cup match with DCU.
Duffy describes the act of biting as "primitive behaviour" which is "shocking and dangerous" and has no place in the association.
He refers to the controversy as one of "the low points of 2013" and describes the bite mark to the arm sustained by McBrearty as "severe."
"That was a disgusting and shocking incident in itself, but what is just as reprehensible is that no one could be held to account for what happened," he writes.
"The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) investigated the matter as thoroughly as possible, but was greatly hindered by the absence of video and other evidence.
"The CCCC, therefore, was reliant on the integrity of those involved to play their part in ensuring that justice was served. However, no one was proved to have inflicted the bite simply because no one admitted to having done so and because the player who was bitten decided not to attend a hearing on the case.
"The counties involved may have chosen to deal with this incident solely in terms of their own interests; be that as it may, they did not emerge with any credit and succeeded only in damaging the reputation of the Association."
Duffy defended the actions of the CCCC throughout the affair and said they "did everything within their power to ensure that the perpetrator was held to account."
"The responsibility for limiting the damage to the reputation of the Association lay with players, team officials and county committee officers," he writes.
"Leadership was required from the counties involved to protect the good name of the Association: it is disappointing that it was not forthcoming."
Duffy also believes it's time for the Association to introduce new measures to deal with team officials who question the integrity of referees.
The Monaghan man considers that the current two month suspension for conduct discrediting the Association is deemed too severe which explains a reluctance to lay charges against over critical managers.
"A more appropriate sanction in the match regulations would be the withdrawal of sideline privileges for a number of games. I believe that this would be an effective deterrent."
He also outlines his belief that the experiment of Friday night matches, especially in championship, is over in the wake of last year's Laois/Carlow qualifier in June which drew criticism from players involved. He says that it is "unlikely to be repeated."
Duffy begins the report by hailing one of the greatest championship seasons ever which saw a 5% rise in attendances and he pays particular attention to hurling.
"We are used to saying to ourselves that hurling is a special game; no doubt we say so too easily at times, pronouncing an unquestioned article of faith. But even the complacent, even the committed, and, indeed, even the occasional follower of hurling were jolted into wide-eyed admiration at this year’s championship.
"One heart-thumping game followed another with displays of skill, athleticism and great commitment, and offering us, too, more than a glimpse of the particular grace that is to be found in sporting contests played at an elevated level."