Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

GAA should make point of disciplining brawl players

Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh
Armagh and Cavan players clash as they line up for the parade during the Ulster Football Championship quarter-final on Sunday June 8 at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh

The GAA, through its new deal with Sky television which began this weekend, has the opportunity to bring its games to a wider audience. However, the players of Armagh and Cavan yesterday showed up the sport in a very unfavourable light.

It is a measure of how intense these games – in what is an amateur sport – have become that the brawl involving practically all the players broke out before the match even started.

The scenes were disgraceful and the sport's authorities must not shy away from disciplinary action against those found guilty of wrongdoing. They must bear in mind how young members of a band leading the pre-match parade fled in terror when the fighting began, and what a bad example it was to young people watching from the terraces.

Sport is an emotional activity – but there was no excuse for what happened yesterday.

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