Saturday 18 November 2017

Controversial reviews motion letting cases slip through net

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Former referee John Bannon said he knew the consequences of altering his county's motion to Congress last April that sought to take the responsibility of reviewing incidents away from referees.

Bannon's motion was built on the premise that referees should not be asked to review incidents that they had either seen and already dealt with, or had missed altogether.

It failed in 2010 but was passed earlier this year when alterations were made that had the backing of some influential rules experts.

His initial proposal suggested this should be the responsibility of the Central Competition Controls Committee (CCCC) if they felt a charge was merited for a particular incident. But a change to the motion stipulated if a referee had already dealt with an incident it could not be revisited, and this was passed.

It is this change that has prevented the CCCC from pursuing cases against a number of players who were given yellow cards by referees that could potentially have been upgraded to red.

Last week Mayo defender Keith Higgins punched Galway's Mark Hehir in the side of the head with the ball gone but, after consulting with his fellow official, referee Rory Hickey only issued a yellow card.

On the same day in Clones, Donegal's Leo McLoone caught Tyrone's Joe McMahon in the back of the head but, again, the punishment was yellow. And on Sunday in Killarney, Kieran Donaghy lashed out with his leg at Cork's Noel O'Leary after the pair had tangled.

Twelve months ago, the CCCC might have been on the case but under the terms of the motion, the matter has been dealt with and Donaghy is free to prepare for an All-Ireland quarter-final without any disciplinary process.

Bannon said yesterday he would rather not comment on the motion passed in the middle of the championship season but said he was aware that cases would slip through the net.

Overall he was satisfied that the principle of removing referees from the equation when decisions were already made was being observed, even if CCCC couldn't subsequently over-ride those decisions.

Kerry will feel a sense of balance about this after losing Tomas O Se from the same game 12 months earlier when a yellow card offence was upgraded to red on review. He missed the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Down. O Se will return for Kerry's All-Ireland quarter-final in four weeks' time, while Paul Galvin should also be ready to make a contribution.

Irish Independent

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