Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Joe Kernan: Cheating play-actors dragging integrity of gaelic games through mud

The Football Review Committee has commenced its task of conducting an in-depth investigation into just how gaelic football is played right now.

Their brief is to analyse the various elements of the sport and come up with recommendations that will further improve and indeed sanitise it.

And I would hope that they will pay particular attention to the con-men who are currently polluting the sport.

Play-acting and feigning injury have mushroomed to such an extent within gaelic football that the sport itself is in danger of imploding. Some of the antics are shameful and are nothing less than a downright embarrassment to what is the country’s biggest and most family-orientated sporting body.

We all like to think of gaelic football as a man’s game but it appears to be populated rather more by wimps right now and that is very much to the detriment of the sport.

What’s more, fans are being short-changed — with hard-earned cash to see a player indulging in an Oscar-winning performance just to get an opponent red-carded!

It is sinister and evil and must be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

I have of course been on my soap-box in the recent past on this subject but I am forced to return to it because of what I have witnessed in some recent high-profile games.

To me one of the saddest aspects of the diving and feigning is that it some of it was being undertaken by players who are household names and as such are viewed as role models for our younger players in all codes.

At a time when the GAA is battling to win over young hearts and minds from other sports, this kind of conduct does a grave disservice to the Association.

I am led to believe that the Football Review Committee has a wide-ranging brief and this being the case I think we can reasonably expect that they will be grasping some nettles in the very near future.

The sooner this is undertaken the better and I wish the committee under the chairmanship of Eugene McGee every success in what I see as its very important endeavours.