Three infamous big-match bustups
1 CORK v CLARE
Munster SHC quarter-final at Semple Stadium
Sunday, May 27, 2007
A tunnel incident with a difference, as the clashes began when both teams were running out prior to the game. Questions were asked of the pre-match organisation as Cork and Clare emerged together.
A niggle started on the way out as two lines of schoolchildren formed a guard of honour. Shamefully, the players ignored any semblance of maturity and started a series of confrontations, leading to ugly scenes before they were eventually separated.
Nobody was booked or sent off for that pre-game affray as the referee Pat O'Connor and his team had not taken charge.
Ironically, the match itself was played in a reasonably disciplined fashion. Cork won by 1-18 to 1-11.
Subsequent action by GAA authorities resulted in four-week suspensions for Donal Og Cusack, Diarmuid O'Sullivan and Sean Og O hAilpin (Cork) and Clare's Colin Lynch, Barry Nugent, Andrew Quinn and Alan Markham.
2 DUBLIN v TYRONE
NFL at Healy Park, Omagh
Sunday, February 5, 2006
Forever remembered as 'the Battle of Omagh'. Tyrone were All-Ireland champions, Dublin were hyped up and defiant and failed to form the expected guard of honour for Tyrone.
Early on a clash between Alan Brogan of Dublin and Tyrone's Brian Meehan resulted in referee Paddy Russell giving them yellow cards. Early in the second half, Brogan was sent off for a second yellow, and was involved in a verbal altercation with a Tyrone official on the sideline.
That sparked violent confrontations between players and subs from both sides. The red card toll was four -- Brogan and Denis Bastick for Dublin and Colin Holmes and Stephen O'Neill for Tyrone. Twelve yellows, including double yellows for Brogan, Bastick and O'Neill, were brandished by the ref.
Loopholes were found in the GAA rules which resulted in the case against Dublin and Tyrone players collapsing. Disciplinary procedures were tightened up after that.
3 DUBLIN v MEATH
NFL at Parnell Park
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Old enmity boiled over, and again Paddy Russell was the unfortunate man in the middle.
This time the ref didn't hesitate when the 'fun' began with a 90-second brawl involving 29 players just five minutes after the throw-in.
He immediately reduced the teams to 13 v 13, dismissing Bernard Brogan and Paddy Andrews from Dublin, and Meath's Niall McKeigue and Shane McAnarney.
Ciaran Whelan of Dublin was later sent off for giving Meath's Seamus Kenny a slap in the face. A total of 11 yellow cards were awarded.
Eventually the Central Competitions Control Committee suspended 16 players.
Interesting to note that in each of these cases TV coverage enabled the transgressions to be viewed by officials. There was no TV coverage at O'Moore Park last Sunday.