Tyrone under spotlight after violent scenes
Published 15/11/2011 | 05:00
The use of a golf umbrella to attempt to strike a Carrickmore player taking a sideline kick is believed to have sparked the ugly row at the end of the league final in Dunmoyle which has Tyrone indiscipline back in the spotlight again.
Just a few short months since Carrickmore were fined when a man identified as a club supporter allegedly assaulted referee Martin Brady after the county's ladies football final, the club are back in hot water following this latest outburst of violence.
Fighting broke out in the stands and on the pitch forcing a delay in the game for at least 10 minutes.
When calm was restored Carrickmore players Plunkett and Gabriel McCallan were sent off and Dromore went on to record a league and championship double with a 0-11 to 0-6 victory.
But what sanctions the Tyrone Competitions Controls Committee (CCC) will seek to take against those responsible for the violence will be known later this week.
Already in recent weeks in Ulster the Antrim County Board have come down hard on one club, St Mary's Rasharkin, after the referee in an U-21 match was assaulted.
Ten people were issued with sanctions, including four from the club, who were expelled from the association, a player, a member of the coaching staff and two supporters.
No official was assaulted in Tyrone but the involvement of these two clubs in violence will no doubt concern Red Hand officials after events of recent years.
In June, Tyrone ladies GFA chairman Martin Conway was also allegedly assaulted after that county final involving Carrickmore and St Macartan's in Beragh.
Two years ago the Tyrone league final between Carrickmore and Errigal Ciaran was marred in controversy when violent scenes broke out after the final whistle. Seven players had been sent off during the game.
Dromore manager Noel McGinn was suspended for 72 weeks for headbutting a Clonoe opponent after the 2008 county final which Clonoe won. McGinn accepted responsibility, admitted his "disappointment" with himself and didn't challenge the ban.
The player he headbutted, Emmet Teague, was banned for eight weeks for retaliating with his head.
Dromore's 2007 league match with Ardboe was abandoned by prominent referee Michael Hughes when violence erupted, while the 2006 county semi-final replay between Carrickmore and Dromore also had a controversial end when a referee was jostled.
There had been numerous delays due to flare-ups and with extra-time it took two and a half hours for the game to be completed.
With prominent players retiring since the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Dublin -- there is strong speculation that Ryan McMenamin will be next to depart -- it has been a challenging period for Tyrone GAA.
Tyrone chairman Ciaran McLoughlin, who has plenty of experience in dealing with these situations in his capacity as CCC chairman in the county in recent years, reiterated the tough stance that his board intend to take on those found to have stepped over the mark.
"Unfortunately when emotions run high these situations can occur," he said last night. "We try to contain them always on the field, but when it involves spectators.
"There were women, there were children and there were other men there who were equally disturbed by what was happening. When you have people frightened off the field, never mind on it, it's not acceptable.
"In Tyrone we've played upward of 2,000 games so this is one isolated incident.
"It was one of our high-profile games, of course it needs to be severely dealt with and within the rulebook of the GAA we will do that.
"We pride ourselves on our sport, and the fact our games are family-orientated, parish-orientated.
"When a situation like this occurs it doesn't do anybody any favours, certainly not the organisation itself. But we will deal with it as quickly as we can."