Wednesday 21 November 2018

Galvin tackle well below the belt, McMenamin

Billy Keane

Billy Keane

Last Sunday in Omagh Ryan McMenamin tapped Paul Galvin in what was reported as 'the groin area'. Let me tell you what the groin area means in grown-up speak. It is the testicles. Galvin went down in a heap, but, to his credit, he jumped up right away.

If Galvin had reacted by striking McMenamin, his season, and possibly his career, was effectively over, as it would be highly unlikely Kerry would put up with anymore indiscipline on his part.

In what I thought was the worst decision I have ever seen, the ref gave Galvin a black card for diving. McMenamin was adjudged to be the victim. There was a linesman only a few metres away. Surely he should have focussed on a potential flashpoint between the two most volatile players in the country? All five officials amazingly missed the incident but a TG4 cameraman on the other side of the pitch caught McMenamin in the act.

And what if the eagle-eyed TG4 camera men hadn't filmed that incident and others? Galvin would have been branded a diver and a cheat.

Galvin must have been well frustrated by then. Earlier, a Tyrone player held him back from a run by pulling his jersey off the ball. Shades of last summer. None of the five officials picked up on that one either.

I thought Galvin's restraint in the face of such provocation was heroic. His acceptance of what I thought was a manifestly unjust decision must be lauded

Now I will only discuss what I saw myself on TV, in fairness to all concerned. I am sure there were other incidents, maybe some involving Kerry players, but I wasn't at the game and hearsay is just another word for gossip.

Late on, McMenamin ploughed into Gooch, who was on the ground. It wasn't too nasty, but in my opinion it was clearly a yellow card offence. The ref saw it differently and gave the free to Tyrone.

McMenamin had been mouthing off at Gooch all day. He was as much in his face as a dentist. I have no idea what McMenamin said to Gooch but it wasn't "what way were the spuds by ye last year?". That was another yellow, as far as I am concerned, but, again, the ref kept his cards in his pocket.

Then, at the end, McMenamin slapped Marc O Se and squeezed his cheeks. I suppose Marc was lucky it wasn't his manhood that was squeezed. O Se pushed McMenamin in the back. There was more mouthing from Ryan.

McMenamin was on a black from early and, as far as I'm concerned, he should have been given at least one more black during the game which means another sending off.

So let's tot it up. There's the testicle tap, the in-your-face carry-on, the two blacks and the O Se incident. That, in my opinion, comes to four sending-offs, yet McMenamin remained on the field of play for the entire game while others were sent off for far less serious incidents.

Now what do the GAA want from Kerry? Are we to play Gandhi football for the rest of the year?

And this is no Kerry sour grapes. Tyrone beat us fair and square in the final and we did win in Omagh. I hate having to write this piece. I hate making enemies and there's nothing worse than having to face someone you've written about in derogatory terms, but this piece had to be written for the good of the game we love so much.

I have close friends in Tyrone and I love to visit the county so please believe me when I say, this gives me no pleasure. And, yes, I did criticise Paul Galvin, who lives just down the road, when he injured a young player here at home. At least he apologised afterwards, unlike 'you know who'.

'You know who' is not all bad. He is a superb defender and the best small man in football. He doesn't need to play dirty. If he had any cop he could have been the GAA Stringer.

And what of Mickey Harte? I suspect he will not be pleased with McMenamin. Mickey's team won the All-Ireland with an imaginative and exciting transposition of what the Dutch termed 'total football', but how is it the most brilliant manager in the game cannot control his own captain? It is a black mark against Harte for, surely, he must realise McMenamin's single black rebuke may yet be seen as a mortuary card for Gaelic football.

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