Sport Gaelic Football

Saturday 20 January 2018

Kerry should stop the nonsense and take the rap

Sean Diffley

So the Kerry squad are so furious at the treatment of Paul Galvin that they are considering a boycott of 'The Sunday Game' -- the programme they believe has played a major part in Galvin's latest suspension.

Being domiciled at a safe enough distance from the fury of Kerry, I am courageous enough -- distance lends enchantment -- to describe the squad's reported attitude as bloody nonsense.

Discipline in Gaelic games and the reaction from players to suspensions is a definite problem and not only in Kerry -- I hasten to add -- especially when you compare it with other sports.

Take the two latest transgressions in rugby, for example. Jamie Heaslip's rush of blood and his dismissal after 15 minutes against the All Blacks led to an embarrassing annihilation of Ireland and the player was sent home to serve out a lengthy ban. A similar suspension for the England winger Matt Banahan for a dangerous tackle against Australia saw him sent home too.

But there were no protests by either the Ireland and England touring squads -- something that Kerry should make note of. Even the England coach Martin Johnson, who is hardly noted for accepting minor interventions to his stewardship -- remember his carpeting protocol in Lansdowne Road? -- accepted the Banahan citing ruefully.

Rugby has disciplinary problems, just like Gaelic football, but once erring players are cited and suspended, the verdicts are accepted. There have been a few dubious bans in rugby down the years, but generally there is no hoo-ha about it.

As for 'The Sunday Game' being guilty of railroading the GAA discipline judges into finding Galvin guilty, it's nonsense -- as Seamus Woods, head of the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) says. Woods also claims that whether or not incidents were highlighted on TV was irrelevant to the CCCC's decision.

Those of us who recall the pre-TV days and no cameras at rugby and Gaelic games are aware that players got away with much worse then. I remember a Munster hurling final when the Gaelic games reporter for this newspaper, John D Hickey, quite properly and professionally, reported a particular action on an opponent by Christy Ring.

But there were no video cameras in those days and Hickey couldn't get anyone to publicly back his account and despite the truth of Hickey's report, it all ended with him being forced to apologise to Ring.

As for the threat being made by the Kerry players, I would remind them what Noel Coward said years ago, something that is valid today: "Time has convinced me of one thing . . . television is for appearing on, not looking at".

Irish Independent

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