Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

GAA needs to get goal-line technology right

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

Hawkeye will be introduced in the Premier League from next seasonGoal-line technology will be used at Croke Park
Goal-line technology will be used at Croke Park

When is goal-line technology not actually goal-line technology?

Despite the GAA unveiling their "six-figure" sponsorship deal with none other than Specsavers (oh, how we laughed) over the new tool that will be used in Croke Park to determine whether a football or a sliotar went over the bar and between the uprights, it will not be used in the case of controversial incidents in the goalmouth.

But why not? How often is a point disputed? Once every few years? But what accelerated the GAA on this issue was the hilarious episode during last year's Leinster final when Eoghan O'Gara put a shot over the bar.

Encouraged by Meath defenders, the umpire waved wide, but after the shot was replayed on the big screen (and it was always Croke Park policy not to replay controversial incidents on the screen) the howls of the Dublin fans led to the point being awarded.

Although it was denied that this was a de facto first example of video evidence in action, the truth was that Dublin were operating from different rules.

As chief tenants of Croke Park, they will continue to do so, while other grounds are not to be equipped with the Hawkeye technology.

That's probably unimportant at the minute. What should be of concern is how the GAA will continue to ignore technology in the case of an incident such as the 2010 Leinster final, when Joe Sheridan rolled over the line, Meath were awarded an illegal 'goal' and Louth lost the final, prompting an attempted attack by fans on referee Martin Sludden.

If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing right.

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