Helmet error gets knocked on the head
THERE was some confusion when Wicklow's Jonathon O'Neill momentarily cast aside his helmet to take a free during a Kehoe Cup match last weekend but the GAA have clarified that it is not allowed.
The O'Neill incident demonstrates that there are still some teething problems with the introduction of compulsory helmets at senior level this year.
The Wicklow hurler actually asked the referee if it was OK to take off his helmet while taking a placed ball and was given permission to do so, but the GAA said yesterday: 'Wrong call ref!'
"The referee said it was OK because there was a break in play," a Wicklow hurling source revealed yesterday.
But the GAA have since reiterated that players must wear helmets at all times on the pitch, whether they are training, engaged in warm-ups or playing in a game.
"We will be reaffirming that with all our referees during the week,"said the GAA's Communications Manager Alan Milton.
"This was the first day out for some referees and players, so no action will be taken but the bottom line is that once a player has a hurl in his hand he must be wearing a helmet," he stressed.
Referees will dismiss a player if he refuses to wear a helmet at any stage of a match and Milton said the GAA will also take retrospective action against players who manage to evade wearing their helmets during a game.