Belfast Telegraph

Friday 24 October 2014

Joe Kernan: Game-changing decisions show video referee is needed

There is still ongoing speculation in relation to the introduction of the video referee in gaelic games.



If further evidence were required that the sooner this step is taken the better, then it was provided at Brewster Park, Enniskillen on Sunday.

Referee Syl Doyle certainly got it spot on when he dismissed Fermanagh’s Daryl Keenan after he struck Down forward Conor Laverty in the ninth minute.

Doyle consulted with his umpire before brandishing a red card at Keenan who protested his innocence but to no avail.

But Doyle missed a clear punch on Fermanagh midfielder Martin McGrath by Down wing-back Aidan Brannigan. McGrath was on the ground at the time and had little chance to defend himself. There is now a suggestion that the Central Competitions Control Committee will take action against Brannigan since the referee did not deal with the issue when it occurred.

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that were a video referee to be in operation such moments of madness would not blight our games.

Players would know for sure that there would be no hiding place and might then maintain their discipline and sportsmanship instead of engaging in what are cowardly acts.

Laverty himself was rather fortunate that his 58th minute goal for Down was allowed to stand even though television footage showed that he had picked the ball off the ground before side-stepping a defender to plant his shot into the net.

Quite why the umpire did not spot what to him should have been a blatant foul is beyond me.

Decisions — or should that be non-decisions — like this and that pertaining to Brannigan can prove game-changing.

I don’t think that these are the last of such incidents we shall see during the course of the Championship season.

And I fear that the GAA will continue to drag its feet in relation to the introduction of the video referee.

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