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Thursday 17 April 2014

Whelan ban proves GAA discipline works – O'Neill

GAA president Liam O'Neill believes the eight-week suspension imposed on Dublin's Jason Whelan shows the Association's disciplinary system "works."

Leinster chiefs imposed the ban on the Ballymun Kickhams player after he was involved in a biting incident during the Dubs' clash with DCU in the O'Byrne Cup two weeks ago.

"The Leinster Council acted swiftly and dealt with the case and it shows our disciplinary system works and that people engage with it," said O'Neill, who was speaking at the launch of the University Certificate in Rural Entrepreneurship, which is backed by the GAA.

"I don't want to say too much about it, I'm very conscious of the fact that there's a player here who was found to have committed a misdemeanour and is suffering the punishment for it – and that's how discipline works."

O'Neill, who admitted that the system could be manipulated when parties don't engage, praised the provincial body for their swift action and Whelan for not contesting the charge.

"It's a very grey area, isn't it? For the system to work, people have to engage with it," he said.

"I have to say I'm pleased that both Dublin and the player have accepted the penalty. I think that's manly.

"Famously, John Mullane was one of the players who got great kudos for the fact that he could have gone to court (to avoid a suspension during the 2004 All-Ireland SHC) but I think what he said was 'No, I've done the crime, I'll do the time'.

"Same with this young man. I think it's commendable and that they have done us all a great service. It's lovely to see someone being manly enough to accept punishment."

The ban is a blow to Whelan's chances of making Dublin's squad for the championship. Having featured strongly this month, and with fellow half-forwards Paul Flynn (suspended) and Diarmuid Connolly (club duty) unavailable, Whelan would have been in line to see some game time in the league opener against Kerry.

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