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Mass brawl won't bring our discipline system down, vows Cooney

THE quest for success is driving top teams to play close to the edge -- but GAA President Christy Cooney and Mick Curley, chairman of the National Referees Committee, say there is no need to alter the disciplinary system.

Cooney and Curley agree that Sunday's mass brawl between Laois and Kildare in the O'Byrne Cup quarter-final does not pose a threat to the GAA's procedures.

But the president warned yesterday: "It's an unsatisfactory start. We would hope that we don't have a repeat at any stage this year."

"I'm not aware of exactly what happened because I haven't even seen a report on it. But it's very unsatisfactory.

"Seven players getting red cards is not something we're proud of and I'm sure the Leinster CCC will deal with it within the rules, and take the necessary appropriate action.


"Referees are very clear that there is to be no deviation from the standards we set last year and that disciplinary rules are very important to us," he said.

Match referee Syl Doyle of Wexford sent off seven players, four from Laois and three from Kildare.

Five of the players -- two Lilywhites and three Laois men -- got their red cards for the melee which broke out after 30 minutes.

Curley feels the trend in breaches of discipline is down rather than on the rise. "That would be an isolated incident. Very seldom something like that would happen in the course of a game, in fairness.

"If you look across all of the games played that day, while there would be yellow-card offences, there would be nothing like what you saw in that particular game.

"Looking back on last year, if you look at the number of disciplinary matches that came before the various disciplinary committees the numbers were reduced. The level of discipline was good. That would be the general consensus," he said.

Irish Independent