Tuesday 27 September 2016

Off The Ball: Zero tolerance must apply to put stop to biting claims

Colm Parkinson

Published 04/11/2015 | 02:30

Michael McCann in action against Aaron Kernan of Crossmaglen Rangers
Michael McCann in action against Aaron Kernan of Crossmaglen Rangers

A very worrying trend in Gaelic football has been the increase in biting allegations in the past couple of years.

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The problem seems to have reared its ugly head again in a game between Crossmaglen and Cargin in the Ulster club championship on Sunday.

Cargin's Michael McCann says an opposition player came up behind him during the game and bit him on the shoulder. McCann said: "It wasn't me who actually reported it and, on the back of that, I was asked about it and I confirmed that it did happen."

Crossmaglen manager Oisin McConville denied the allegations, saying: "We're happy that such an incident did not happen. We wouldn't condone anything like that. It's not the way we play football. We haven't been associated with this stuff before."

Condone

I firmly believe Oisin when he says he wouldn't condone such actions but you'd have to ask why would any player make up such an allegation?

In 2013, Dublin footballer Kevin O'Brien was cleared of an allegation of biting during a National League game against Donegal. The Central Hearings Committee found that the case against him was not proven.

The same year Cavan footballer Anthony Gaynor was banned for biting an opponent on the ear.

In 2014, Dublin's Jason Whelan received an eight-week ban after the O'Byrne Cup loss to DCU following Leinster Council investigations into an allegation of biting, while later that year an incident in Dublin's clash with Meath drew much scrutiny.

I've seen a lot of unsavoury incidents on a football field during my career but never witnessed biting. To think players could be in danger of being bitten playing football is disgusting and some player needs to follow through with their allegations and punishments handed down.

Zero tolerance should be applied to incidents like this - not just from GAA authorities, but from players too. CP

Irish Independent

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