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GAA chiefs kick off discipline crackdown

By John Campbell

Gaa chiefs are now urging club sides to clean up their act following the high levels of discipline in the closing stages of the All-Ireland senior football championship.

In the seven matches embracing the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final just two red cards were brandished - and one of these was subsequently rescinded while the other had more than an element of farce to it.

It was no great surprise that Diarmuid Connolly's harshly-delivered red card picked up following Donegal player Marty Boyle's play-acting against Dublin was overturned while John Miskella's 'fate' in suffering a similar censure in the 70th minute while assisting Cork against Mayo was over the top.

Now clubs are being reminded of their responsibilities in terms of sportsmanship as the various county finals approach.

Last weekend in the Carrickmore v Clonoe Tyrone quarter-final tie four players were dismissed for incurring second yellow cards while Loup's chances of making it into the Derry final against Ballinderry nosedived when they had Gavan Mallon red-carded in the 34th minute.

From then until the end of the match their opponents Kilrea scored eight unanswered points to book a final place for the first time in their history.

GAA President Christy Cooney has reiterated the Association's stance on discipline.

"There is now greater policing of transgressions and it is clear that county teams in particular are very aware of where they stand.

"Hopefully their lead will be taken up by other sides," states Cooney.

With the Ulster Club championship due to get under way shortly officials in the province are hopeful that the games will be played in the spirit that marked the closing segment of the All-Ireland championship.

"There is no doubt that those matches were played out against a backdrop of great intensity but you would have to say that discipline was very good," said one Ulster Council official.

"Obviously we now have what is referred to as strategic fouling and while that is not an aspect of our game to be admired I suppose we have to live with it.

"But there is certainly a big cutback on violence and thuggery at inter-county level and that is to be warmly welcomed."

Belfast Telegraph

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