Sunday 18 February 2018

Have your say: Conlon's insulting view way off mark

Tommy Conlon's article [July 18] regarding the GAA could not have been more inaccurate or insulting to the many fine GAA people in this country.

He seems to have shown an immense lack of knowledge of GAA structures. Christy Cooney, Páraic Duffy, the Leinster Council nor the GPA had any power at all to order a replay. Only the Meath County Board had the chance to offer one and, not surprisingly, they passed the buck and forced the players to decide. So you can thank the Meath players and county board for having no replay. Nobody else.

The umpires were right to say nothing. If they did, they would have brought a world of trouble on to themselves. And what if afterwards they were found to have been wrong? There would have been mayhem. It was the referee's mistake and his only. He referees the match and if he awards a goal, whether it should have been allowed or not, everybody, including the umpires, must accept his decision.

Your description of GAA members as being incompetent is insulting to the many GAA people who do great work not just for their clubs but their communities. The GAA is an amateur organisation run in a most professional way. Croke Park is a striking example of that.

If the GAA has one failing, it is that historically it has not been as defensive against misleading accusations from people like you. To describe being proud of your Association and your locality as Gombeenism is insulting. Being proud of these are what makes the GAA great. In its 126-year history, the GAA has shown an extraordinary ability to move with the times. Soccer and rugby have been played in Croke Park, PSNI and British Army people are now allowed to play the games and the new Irish are taking up the games in impressive numbers.

An Association with incompetent Gombeen members could not possibly achieve this. Tommy should remember this the next time he wants to insult our national sporting association.

Mark McDonnell

Rossies deserved fair crack of whip

It is with regret that I feel I must put pen to paper to highlight the dismal absence of coverage from the Roscommon point of view with regards to the Connacht football final (July 18).

I am fully aware that Roscommon were huge underdogs for the game. This being the case, it still does not give validity to your shameful lack of fairness when devoting column inches to the protagonists. I do note that an entire page was devoted to Sligo, in addition to a third of the opposite page speaking about Sligo and Monaghan's team-building.

I would ask in all sincerity, that the editor remove his blinkers and allow more equitable and expansive coverage in future.

Dermot O'Kelly

Louth's misfortune must spark change

As a Louth follower, disappointed by the narrow defeat to Meath, I am hoping that the match proves to be a watershed of positive change for future GAA games.

It's now obvious that this great association needs an urgent review of rules and regulations. Perhaps the Leinster final incidents will accelerate these changes for the good, ie some form of post-incident video review, a more obvious supporting role by assistant referees, rewards for good sporting behaviour (reference the Offaly hurling team applauding the opposition after defeat to Antrim in 1989) and stricter penalties for supporters who abuse referees.

Also, discourage the relatively recent temptation of referees to opt for a draw. There are more but I will let other people, closer to the game, take that lead.

In retrospect, I hope Louth and Meath get over the controversy and continue to be good neighbours. It's only a game albeit important to so many. Finally, I hope the association recognises the greatness of Paddy Keenan with a well-earned All Star!

Damien Boyd

Experts all wrong - size doesn't matter

It really is tedious to see and hear the repeated references of so-called experts, TV pundits, scribes and coaches, to the wide open spaces of particular GAA pitches, Thurles and Croke Park being the main ones.

The maximum size by regulation is 145 metres by 90 metres and the minimum is 130m by 80m. Croke Park is 144m by 86m while Thurles is marginally over maximum length but less than minimum width -- the sacred sod doesn't even meet the regulations! Most club pitches are wider.

Killarney, Limerick, Galway, Portlaoise and Parnell Park are other relatively narrow pitches. The two main pitches in Cork are of maximum size; Tralee is almost. Seldom will a sideline ball be kicked over on any of these three

. . . 'Cork love playing in Thurles' and 'Cork love coming to Killarney' -- presumably more to do with the ambience than the narrow pitches, surely?

Colm Mangan

Sunday Independent

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