Thursday 23 November 2017

Refs register their anger over red-card reversals

Diarmuid Connolly has twice escaped missing a a major August match because of suspension
Diarmuid Connolly has twice escaped missing a a major August match because of suspension
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

There is considerable anger in refereeing circles over the number of August red card decisions that have been rescinded in recent years.

The decision by a Disputes Resolution Authority panel to set aside Diarmuid Connolly's red card in the early hours of last Saturday morning was the fourth time in an August Croke Park championship game that a player has not served a suspension as a consequence.

Connolly has twice escaped missing a major August match because of suspension, having had his red card in the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final against Donegal also rescinded by a Central Hearings Committee.

Last year Lee Keegan successfully challenged his red card in the drawn Mayo game while Kevin Keane enjoyed a similar result last month after his dismissal for striking Donegal's Michael Murphy.


Senior referees were in touch with refereeing chiefs on Saturday to express their grave concern at the recent turn of events.

One suggested they were being "ridiculed" by their own association and stressed the need for remedial action. It is expected that the matter will be raised at the next review meeting that the referees regular conduct.

The pressure on the GAA's disciplinary system is reflected in how six of the last seven suspensions imposed for incidents in August have not stuck.

Tiernan McCann's proposed two-month ban was thrown out by the CHC last month, while another Tyrone player, Conor Gormley, also had a retrospective ban for an incident in an All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan quashed.

The only August ban, relevant to the same championship, that has held has been Martin Penrose for his red card in the same Monaghan match two years ago.

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice suggested at the Kerry press night last night that the disciplinary system "clearly wasn't working".

Irish Independent

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