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TMO a seamless solution for GAA
From the non-biased base of Co Offaly, I have been following this year's senior football championship with great interest. I am disappointed to see my own county in such bad form but I still enjoy watching quality football, played by quality players in an honest, sporting spirit.
This level of competition is healthy for the game itself and is producing some wonderful matches for hardcore and casual fans to enjoy. I am sad to see so many of this year's games being tainted by poor refereeing decisions and controversial calls by umpires and linesmen.
The quarter-final between Kildare and Donegal was a particularly poor incident that sent out the Lilywhites. A perfectly legitimate Kildare goal was ruled out for a 'square ball' call at a very important time in the game. Kildare can feel hard done by as they only lost out by a single point scored in the depths of extra-time.
Kildare had already been the victim of an appalling refereeing decision against Dublin in the Leinster championship semi-final where a free was wrongly awarded in the last moments of the tie.
This raises the issue of goal-line technology and of video refereeing to aid the on-field officials. A video refereeing system works perfectly in rugby matches and has helped in getting game-changing decisions right. A simple stopping of the clock and referral to a video referee takes two minutes and can be introduced cheaply and immediately. This system works flawlessly in rugby and could seamlessly fit into the GAA.
Inaction an insult to players and fans
The next time I hear an Irish person mention Thierry Henry's handball, I'm going to laugh. In the past 12 months, our national games have been made a laughing stock by a lengthy series of equally incompetent officiating.
The Louth-Meath debacle was touted as a 'watershed' moment, yet, if anything, it has opened the floodgates for more controversy; it sometimes seems that GAA officials are secretly concocting original ways to disillusion the existing supporters it has.
This summer, we have seen legitimate goals disallowed at very critical times (from Meath v Kildare to Kildare v Donegal), last minute, game-defining frees given that were not frees (Dublin v Kildare, Limerick v Wexford) and potential match-winning frees NOT given when they should have (Kildare v Donegal). All this would be acceptable if the game was overlooked by one or even three officials -- but the reality is that the GAA has seven pairs of eyes between umpires, linesmen and the referee -- and yet, when technology such as a video-referee or Hawk-Eye, which is good enough for a game as conservative as tennis at Wimbledon, is mentioned, it is ignored or politely dismissed.
In recessionary times, when it costs hundreds of euro per person and untold amounts of emotional energy to follow one's county through the championship, it is time that the GAA hierarchy begin to acknowledge that such inept decisions are betraying the most loyal of its supporters. More so, it is time for something better to be offered to amateur players, many unemployed, who give so much.
It is sickening to see the likes of Louth, Kildare and Wexford footballers see their torturous early-morning and late-night sessions from winter to autumn dissolve in such unfair fashion. Small wonder (and an avoidable pity) that golf and rugby are fast becoming 'the new GAA'.
Craughwell U-14s no one-hit wonder
In reference to the article published last week, I was proud and curious as to the mention of Craughwell Féile football winners.
Firstly, this is the first time that the club has won this competition and the team went on to proudly represent Galway at the Cork Féile. But this was coming. Football teams in Craughwell have been winning under 10, 12 and 14 competitions for the last couple of years competing against the Corofins, Mountbellews, Killererins, Moniveas and others.
In Cork, the Craughwell team had a record of played four, won three, drawn one and lost out on scoring difference to the Kerry champions who advanced to the semi-final and were unlucky to lose to St Finbarr's. The Craughwell team scored 9-20 and conceded just 0-12, the only team not to concede a goal in the competition. A step forward for Galway football . . . I think so.
This team is not a one-hit wonder as some in Galway football circles believe. It is the culmination of hard work and dedication by a group of interested football people living in the community. This Féile team was the first team to represent Craughwell at football in an under 8 football blitz in St Gabriel's in 2005 and with good coaching have turned into a very good football team.
The other and most outstanding point to mention is that this same group of players represented the club at the hurling Féile (A division) the previous weekend and were knocked out at the semi-final stage -- 12 starters on both teams. This also highlights the fact that players can play both codes if permitted and if coaches have the good of the club at heart.
(Craughwell under 14 football)
Sunday Indo Sport
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