Monday 26 September 2016

GAA boss Páraic Duffy slams 'omerta' that saw no player sanctioned for Davy Byrne incident

Published 26/01/2016 | 11:28

Davy Byrne was left with an extensive facial injury after Dublin's challenge match with Armagh last year
Davy Byrne was left with an extensive facial injury after Dublin's challenge match with Armagh last year

GAA director-general Páraic Duffy has slammed the 'omerta' that resulted in no Armagh player being censured for the facial injuries that hospitalised Dublin footballer Davy Byrne last summer.

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Duffy has also taken issue with John Costello's "Scrooge-like" depiction of Croke Park over Central Council's award of an additional €15,000 grant to Dublin arising from their involvement with Mayo in last September's money-spinning All-Ireland semi-final replay. 

"Disappointing and misplaced" is how the Monaghan official describes the charge, contained in Costello's annual Dublin GAA report.

Nor does he pull his punches over the disciplinary sequel to last July's challenge match between Dublin and Armagh.

"Even though the name of the player alleged to have been responsible for Davy Byrne's injury was in general circulation, no assistance was forthcoming from the counties in bringing the player to account," Duffy writes in his annual report to Congress, released today.

"Given the unwillingness of either county to co-operate in identifying any of the guilty parties, the only option available to CCCC was the proposal of a fine, a penalty that was subsequently imposed at a hearing.

"It will probably be considered naïve on my part to criticise the position taken by the counties, but the misguided loyalty that protects players who engage in violent behaviour on the pitch can only be seen, by those concerned with the good of the game, as a failure of leadership.

"Group solidarity is one thing; a code of silence that condones violence is quite another," he remarks, adding: "We have all witnessed how elite professional sport has lost much of its integrity through a loss of genuine sporting values. Codes of silence and cover-ups remind us that Gaelic games are not immune to such damage."

Duffy also deals with the fall-out to Diarmuid Connolly's successful DRA appeal allowing him to play in the Mayo replay, issuing a trenchant defence of the GAA's existing disciplinary structures.

"Commentators were entitled to question the DRA decision in respect of Diarmuid Connolly (although one wonders if the outcry would have been as great if the player was someone other than Diarmuid Connolly), but it was nothing short of lazy headline-seeking commentary to use this to suggest that our disciplinary structures are not fit for purpose," the director-general maintains.

Meanwhile, Duffy defends the €15,000 Sky Blue grant arising from that replay, on the grounds that "Dublin enjoys a much higher level of current funding than any other county, that it enjoys vastly greater commercial revenues than other counties, that it incurs lower costs in terms of players' travelling expenses to games and training than all other counties, and that it has a far greater fundraising capacity than most."

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