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Widespread code of silence highlights paranoia in GAA

By Declan Bogue

Published 15/07/2015

Media handled: Kieran McGeeney
Media handled: Kieran McGeeney

Congratulations to Colm Parkinson for making life uncomfortable for Dublin manager Jim Gavin last week when questioning him over the debacle of Davy Byrne's facial injuries, sustained prior to throw-in of the recent challenge match between Armagh and Dublin.

There is a danger that with all former players, they can easily slip into the old boy's network and not really treat their job with the rigour it sometimes deserves.

Asked at length and repeatedly about what occurred, Gavin reached for the classic politician trick of fudge, ticked the box of 'regrettable' and urged us that the most important thing to do is to move on. The players were 'very keen' to concentrate on their careers.

Parkinson revealed that the referee's report of the incident did not contain any details of the assault. Gavin replied that he did not have that information. Of course not. It reminded the nerdier factions of the time when Dublin lined out a player against Tyrone in the National League last year who wasn't listed on the programme.

Asked afterwards about it, Gavin replied: "That would be outside my sphere of influence," as if he had nothing at all to do with picking the team!

When Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney was asked about the challenge match after Sunday's defeat by Galway, he replied: "Isn't there always a lot said and written when people don't know anything? Nothing has changed there and even when they do know, they don't write it, because that's not what sells papers," which was again another failure to actually answer a question straight.

While a follow-up question was coming, the new Armagh media handler stepped in to do the whole 'let's wrap it up' thing. Where would we be without media handlers?

The upshot of all this, and perhaps a side-effect of all the negative publicity since, is that GAA chiefs are keen to investigate matters further.

They will get nowhere, with GAA Omerta being particularly strong. What was most illuminating about the affair was the levels of paranoia and cognitive dissonance in the inter-county game.

Belfast Telegraph

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