Saturday 17 March 2018

Brennan hits out at GAA's 'flawed' disciplinary system

Kilkenny legend Eddie Brennan. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Kilkenny legend Eddie Brennan. Photo by Matt Browne/Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Kilkenny legend Eddie Brennan has hit out at the GAA's "flawed" disciplinary system in the wake of the news that Waterford's Austin Gleeson is clear to play in next month's All-Ireland SHC final.

Gleeson pulled Luke Meade's helmet off his head in the first half of last Sunday's enthralling All-Ireland semi-final with Cork. And speaking on 'The Sunday Game' last weekend, Brennan (right) insisted the evidence against the Waterford man was 'conclusive'.

However, the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) were unable to build a case after referee James Owens indicated he was happy with how he officiated the game.

Any ban would have ruled Gleeson out of the All-Ireland final but after he escaped sanction, Brennan insisted that his comments were in no way personal against Gleeson, and that he stood by them.

Personalities "I 100pc stand over my comments on Sunday night. I was asked a specific question. I was asked to comment on an incident, not about personalities, not about people involved," he told RTé Radio.

"I certainly wasn't arranging any campaign to have any player suspended for an All-Ireland final but I was asked a question and I didn't dance around the issue.

"As a former player who has been in the stand once or twice, I understand the predicament players find themselves in.

"As a person who greatly admires top-quality hurlers, I'm delighted that Austin Gleeson is free to play in the All-Ireland final. My comments were in no way of a personal nature on Sunday night."

Brennan, who is the Kilkenny U-21 manager, believes that failure to enforce the rule could lead to serious injury down the line.

"It's quite obviously flawed. You look at the use of the English language to dodge a bullet in some ways," he said.

"We all love rugby matches when the referee asks the TMO a specific question 'Try or no Try? Check the grounding', it's a specific question that gets a definitive answer and the right call ultimately.

"What happened in this was, the CCCC sought clarification off James Owens and Barry Kelly the previous week.

"If they don't ask a specific question, it is the referee's prerogative, and rightly so, to dodge answering a direct question.

"If they ask a direct question, well then ultimately when they ask that question if James Owens or Barry Kelly the previous week say, 'I didn't see that incident' you're now in a situation where they are the bad ones because people know that the consequences of what is going to happen.

"I think if you are going to have a disciplinary system, rules and regulation, if you are not going to implement them, there's no point in having them. Do we have to wait for another incident where like Declan Fanning a few years ago, someone has their ear ripped off?

"99pc of our games are played at club level and if young lads of 14 and 15 get grabbed by the helmet and yanked left or right they are going to get seriously hurt.

"That's the big issue, not someone missing out on an All-Ireland. We're talking about someone getting injured here."



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Irish Independent

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