Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Give gaelic's boot boys the boot, now

Paddy Russell shows the red card during Dublin and Meath's match

My main piece today was going to be about Monaghan but in stepped Dublin and Meath to take centre stage.

It was a typical Dublin v Meath derby.

Of course it was full of controversy and there were red cards shown.

And apparently it was all the fault of the dreaded media.

Sure, media are to blame for the game being dragged through the gutter again after yesterday's unacceptable scenes at Parnell Park.

Five players sent off in total, four of them after an early melee which involved just about everyone. Punches flowing freely but sure it was a good game anyway.

No doubt that what the apologists would have us believe as the game again descends into farce.

This is some message to be sending out to the children and the parents about Gaelic Football. Mass brawls and a game which finished 13 v 12.

Indiscipline is an issue I have often highlighted over the years but it's the same old story week-in week-out.

There will be some outcry over this latest incident but watch how it fizzles out in the days and weeks ahead.

The different slant that will be put on the issue and the spin doctors fall into position.

It was interesting to see that even on TV last night in the South the main sports story was the classic hurling final between Tipperary and Galway with the Dublin v Meath incident well down the bulletin. Can you imagine any other sport being treated the same way?

Premiership football, local football, Six Nations rugby. Come off it. If the violence isn't highlighted at every opportunity then it is allowed to fester and grow.

I have no great love for Meath football. They are the past masters of dragging the game into the gutter and yesterday they certainly played their part. The real problem for me, however, is with Dublin.

Already this season they have a track record of shame which is unacceptable. They had a mentor suspended for four months after he head butted Monaghan's Tomas Freeman in their league clash in Parnell Park. After that game the Monaghan County board complained about a lack of safety at the ground.

Last week they went to Crossmaglen and got involved in yet more unsavoury incidents with Armagh. We have just come away from another Annual Congress where delegates have been talking about respect for match officials and for the game and then we get this.

For me it's simple. There are dirty players out there and there are managers who encourage them to get stuck in and rough up the opposition. That has always been the case. But too often they are allowed to get away with it. The GAA needs to get off the fence and get serious about discipline. When former GAA President Sean McCague took charge of this issue it paid dividends but sadly his efforts didn't get the full backing of those that followed.

Now we have a new Monaghan man in charge, Pauric Duffy. I have great faith in Duffy and I hope he takes this issue under control and sorts out discipline once and for all. Scenes like that yesterday in Parnell Park have no part in any sport.

Every time it's allowed to happen and people are allowed to get away with it, it only serves to blacken sport.

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