Tuesday 20 March 2018

Discipline 'back to square one' - former president Sean Kelly

Former GAA President Sean Kelly
Former GAA President Sean Kelly
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Former GAA president Sean Kelly fears the association's disciplinary process is "back to square one" after a series of recent suspensions were reversed or set aside.

Kelly, who was president when the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA) was established over a decade ago as part of a series of other structural changes that have led to the current system, said the game's image was suffering because of the failure of red cards to stick.

Kelly, speaking to Midlands Radio, said the GAA would have to look forensically at what happened in the recent DRA case that set Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly free to play against Mayo in last Saturday's All-Ireland semi-final replay.

"I'm afraid, from what I have seen this year, we seem to being going back in some respects to where we started," he said.

"The whole idea behind setting up the new disciplinary system and the DRA was to have transparency certainly and means for players to make their cases but, more importantly, to stop players getting off on technicalities.

"In this instance no matter what way you look at it - and I've no problem with Diarmuid Connolly who is a wonderful player - the referee sent him off for striking, the video evidence showed that he was correct and then he gets clear on a technicality.

"We're back to square one, it's not good for the image of the game. The GAA must now get a handle on it and come up with some solutions so that this won't continue."

Meanwhile, Lee Keegan, the player Connolly was obstructed by in the incident that prompted his red card, has expressed sympathy for referees.

"They are trying to make a split-second decision and they are probably not getting the protection or back-up they deserve either. I think they probably need a little bit more help from their linesmen, umpires, possibly TMO," he said.

Irish Independent

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