Tuesday 20 February 2018

Charlie Redmond: The GAA need to make an example of Lee Keegan now

Read Charlie Redmond every week in The Herald

Charlie Redmond

What Lee Keegan did to Dean Rock, as he kicked the winning free in last Sunday’s All-Ireland SFC Final, was an absolute disgrace.

It’s a new low in Gaelic football.

These GPS systems have only come into use by GAA players over the last five years and they’re a useful tool for measuring ground covered, energy levels and play a part in teams making substitutions.

So for Lee Keegan to take the unit out of its brace and throw it at Dean Rock marks a new low.

What would have happened if Dean had missed the free?

A retake? Move the ball in 14 metres?

I’ve spoken to Dean and he told me it actually hit him on the foot, albeit after he struck the ball.

But Keegan threw the pack towards the ball and at the standing foot of Dean Rock, endeavouring to catch his gaze and take his eye off the ball.

How Dean had the concentration and the composure to not allow it effect him or his kicking action speaks volumes for the guy.

As did his reaction to it.

He had a far more composed reaction than I or some of the players I played with would have had.

If Lee Keegan threw a GPS at me I’d fire it back at him.

Reverse the roles.

What would have happened if it was a Dublin player who threw it at Cillian O’Connor?

Can you imagine the reaction in the media and GAA circles if it was Diarmuid Connolly?

Blue murder!

The furore would be significantly different if that was a Dub.

It’s outrageous.

And if the GAA choose to take no action over this, we could have somebody throwing a GPS at a freetaker’s head because they’ve seen Lee Keegan’s stunt and as yet, we don’t know if he’ll be punished.

It’s reprehensible. And dangerous.

I don’t buy this guff about Mayo having to do anything in their power to win an All-Ireland or in this case, anything to stop Dean Rock kicking the free that beat them.

Just play a bit better.

Train harder. Commit yourself more.

Get a better freetaker.

That’s what they can do to win an All-Ireland. Not throwing things at a fella taking a free.

Lee Keegan let himself down and he let Mayo down doing what he did.

And I have no doubt that plenty of people were turned off Mayo by Keegan’s actions.

Neutrals, people watching the game at home, they’d have been naturally inclined to support Mayo last Sunday – as we would in Dublin if they were playing anyone else in the All-Ireland final.

I’m sure, in hindsight, lots of neutrals were delighted that Dean Rock put that free over the bar when they saw the pictures of Keegan throwing the GPS.

It was below contempt.

In hurling, you get booked if you throw a hurley at a player.

If the GAA don’t come down hard on this, what’s to stop five players standing in front of the kicker and all throwing their GPS at him?

Because the precedent will have been set by Lee Keegan last week.

I would ask the question then is it only permissible to throw your GPS at a free-taker or can it be done in open play as well?

The GAA need to make an example of Keegan now.

They must find the correct sanction in the rule book and give him a ban.

If there’s nothing specific about the use of equipment like this, he should be done for bringing the GAA into disrepute.

It was an ugly note on which to finish an epic game between two serious teams.

There’s no love between Dublin and Mayo and it showed.

We knew Mayo would play real confrontational football and they are the one team that can press Dublin’s buttons.

They’re physically very strong and to their credit, Mayo are a hugely mentally strong team too.

To keep coming back, to stay at this level and improve every year takes huge resilience.

But Dublin’s experience and their freetaker won the day.

Last week, I met David Brady and I told him there wasn’t a single Mayo player I would replace a Dublin player with.

He looked at me with ten heads and said: ‘What about Cillian O’Connor?’

I said: ‘Absolutely not.’

I’d have Dean Rock as my freetaker every day of the week over O’Connor.

Neither of their late kicks were easy and O’Connor was unlucky that his struck the post but it was an almost identical scenario to last year’s replay.

Dean, meanwhile, produced his sweetest strike of the day when it mattered most and as he had a GPA tracker being thrown at him.

It looked as though Mayo faded in those last few minutes.

And if Mayo want to win an All-Ireland so much, that could be the area they need to improve on.

That was a game for clear minds and light legs and Dublin had more of both than Mayo on the pitch at the final whistle.

Mayo couldn’t get that late turnover when Dublin kept possession in their own ’45.

So if Mayo need an area to improve, they should look at their preparations, their fitness and their application rather than resorting to one of the worst instances of poor sportsmanship I can remember.

Online Editors

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