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Dessie: 'We came up here to play football... that was needleess'


Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Dublin manager Dessie Farrell. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Dessie Farrell described the brawl that broke out at half-time in Sunday's Division 1 defeat to Tyrone in Omagh as "needless" with the GAA's disciplinary arm now primed to examine footage of the incident.

Punches were thrown by players from both teams in an unseemly melee in the tunnel area under the main stand in Healy Park although despite the existence of multiple clips from different angles of the fight, it is difficult to fully identify the players involved.

When the teams came back out after half-time, referee Cormac Reilly issued a black card to Pádraig Hampsey for what Mickey Harte later confirmed was his part in the fracas.

The initial flashpoint was not caught on camera although it is understood that it stemmed from a coming together between Hampsey and two Dublin players as they left the pitch.

Black cards can be issued for: (i) Deliberately pulling down an opponent.

(ii) Deliberately tripping an opponent with the hand(s), arm, leg or foot.

(iii) Deliberately colliding with an opponent after he has played the ball away or for the purpose of taking him out of a movement of play.

(iv) Threatening or using abusive or provocative language or gestures to an opponent or a team-mate.

(v) Remonstrating in an aggressive manner with a Match Official.

It was not immediately apparent on Saturday night which of those offences Reilly deemed Hampsey to be in breach of.

Asked about Reilly's decision, Farrell suggested that it had been a "strange," course of action to take in the circumstances.

"All I'll say on that is, we came up here to play football. And that was needless, what happened at half-time."

The CCCC are expected now to request footage of the row to ascertain which players have cases to answer.

Given the number of bodies and flailing arms and fists in the tunnel at that time, their initial challenge may be determining which players are guilty of what exactly.

'Contributing to a melee' is a Category III offence, punishable by a minimum one match suspension 'in the same code and at the same level, applicable to the next game in the competition.'

'Striking or attempting to strike with arm, elbow, hand or knee,' falls under Category III and carries the same length of ban.

Were any Dublin players found guilty of the above offences, they would miss their next match against Meath in Croke Park on Sunday, March 15th.

Tyrone's next game is against Donegal in Ballybofey on Saturday, March 14th.

Alternatively, the CCCC could deemed the behaviour of players to constitute 'Misconduct Considered to have Discredited the Association,' an offence which carries an eight-week ban.


Use of that rule in circumstances such as Saturday night's is rare, however, and in this case, highly unlikely.

Afterwards, Mickey Harte suggested Tyrone would suffer no further censure over the incident, although his comments may have been motivated more by hope than expectation.

"I wouldn't expect to lose anybody," he stated.

"We were the only ones who lost a man at half-time at all."

As Hampsey was issued a card, his offence is deemed to have been dealt with unless cited for an infraction other than the one stated in Reilly's report as warranting black card censure.

"Paudie Hampsey got a black card out of it. I think we've served our punishment," Harte went on.

Asked whether Tyrone knew during the break what Reilly's course of action would be, the Tyrone manager replied: "We got a hint about it at half-time anyway, yeah."


Both Harte or Farrell insisted that they had not witnessed exactly what had transpired.

"I didn't see too much, there were just a lot of bodies in a confined space," Harte stated afterwards.

"Maybe that was a good thing," he added, "that nobody could get doing any damage to each other."