Monday 19 March 2018

Players feel heat as video-nasty crackdown continues

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

GAA PLAYERS who find themselves under the TV spotlight this year will have to be extra vigilant about their behaviour after Tyrone and Derry were hit with shock 'retrospective' suspensions after the first game of the National Football League.

Tyrone are still reeling after discovering that three of their players -- Justin McMahon, Martin Penrose and Conor Gormley -- received four-week bans on the basis of video evidence, despite only getting yellow cards during the game.

Derry's Eoin Bradley, who also only received a yellow card in the same match, has also had his offence upgraded by the match referee's review.

Such a heavy and immediate post-match clampdown underlines that the Association mean business on the disciplinary front in all competitions this year.

Referee Pat McEnaney was asked by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) to review several of his decisions in the Derry v Tyrone encounter and, having viewed them on video, he upgraded the offences.

Managers constantly rail against this type of 'trial by TV', arguing that because the bigger teams get much more television coverage it can also cause them to be subjected to heavier and more selective scrutiny.

Derry and Tyrone only learned on Wednesday night that the offences had been upgraded and their players have until tonight to lodge appeals.

But this looks unlikely in all cases because this is actually the only weekend they will miss if they accept their suspensions.

All four will be eligible to play again by the time the third round of the NFL comes around in early March, another indication of the anomalies in the GAA's convoluted disciplinary system.

The bad news for Tyrone and Derry is that the TV cameras will be at their second-round NFL games again this weekend and Kerry and Cork's footballers should also be mindful of their behaviour as their big All-Ireland final rematch tonight is also being covered live by Setanta Sports.

Irish Independent

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