Wednesday 21 February 2018

Extraordinary Byrne incident simply stinks

Dublin footballer Davy Byrne
Dublin footballer Davy Byrne
Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee

Despite what many people say to the contrary, the GAA is not inhabited by people of a devious nature but the events that took place last Thursday week at a challenge game in DCU between two of the highest profile teams in the country - Dublin and Armagh - could aptly be described in that manner.

Some very unsavoury behaviour took place about which rumours more than solid information leaked out to the national media. But what is a fact is that Dublin player Davey Byrne suffered serious facial and head injuries and was detained in hospital for two nights afterwards.

This game was under the control of an official referee on the inter-county list of referees therefore one could reasonably expect that the incidents which took place, prior to the throw-in I might add, would be reported according to GAA rules and the culprit or culprits would be listed in the referee's report.

That did not happen and, according to the grapevine, an overworked aspect of GAA life, that is the end of the story. Move on, nothing more to see folks!

This is a truly extraordinary result to what happened. After all, a Dublin player was assaulted in a violent manner, the player involved is well known; presumably, the incident was seen by several other people who were there despite the game being a so-called 'behind-closed-doors' game.

So why has everybody run for cover? No person in the GAA that I have heard of has made any comment on the sorry affair other than a politician-style interview given by Jim Gavin to Newstalk that managed to answer the same question about six times without giving a straight answer.

And for once after a controversy Kieran McGeeney has remained totally quiet. How do ordinary Dublin GAA people think about behaviour which saw one of their leading county footballers assaulted before a game and put into hospital for two nights yet absolutely no punishment of any kind is being imposed?

And what does that say about Fair Play, a concept of which the GAA at national level is now trying to promote universally around Ireland and something that is badly needed to protect the image of the Association?

This incident stinks to high hell and will stay that way for some time if, as seems likely, no further action takes place.

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