Tuesday 20 March 2018

'Do we have to wait for someone's ear to be ripped off?' - Eddie Brennan slams GAA's disciplinary process

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Kilkenny legend Eddie Brennan has slammed the GAA's disciplinary process after Adrian Tuohy and Austin Gleeson were cleared to play in the upcoming All-Ireland final despite appearing to breach the rule regarding helmets and faceguards.

Galway corner-back Tuohy and Deise powerhouse Gleeson were both cleared by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) of a category three infraction.

A category 3 infraction is defined by the GAA as follows: "Behaving in a way that is dangerous to an opponent including deliberately pulling on or taking hold of a faceguard or taking hold of an opponents helmet in hurling."

Tuohy was cleared because he was not looking at his opponent when he removed his helmet and Gleeson was exonerated for pulling off Luke Meadee's helmet after referee Barry Owens didn’t deem it deliberate or dangerous and used his discretion to let the incident go in real time though he confirmed, through CCCC communication, that he had adjudicated.

Without the Wexford official clearing the way the GAA’s Central Competitions Controls Committee could not build a case against the player under rule.

Speaking on the Sunday Game, Brennan claimed that the video evidence was 'conclusive'.

"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 Morning Ireland on RTE Radio One today.

"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."

The eight-time All-Ireland winner believes the GAA's disciplinary system is failing the game and thinks it may take a player getting seriously injured for a change to be made.

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

"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 not 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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