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GAA draws line in sand after Derrytresk ban

It has been interesting in the last few days to note the reaction to the GAA's decision to ban the Derrytresk club for five years.

It always seems, when it comes to rows in the GAA, that the appetite for retribution is much greater in the immediate aftermath rather than when the punishments are actually announced.

The common consensus appears to be that the ban is excessive. One extraordinary piece last Thursday in The Irish Times even managed to portray the Tyrone club as victims in all this. One of the arguments put forward has been that 15- and 16-year-olds in the club who had nothing to do with the row three weeks ago are being unduly punished.

Are these, I wonder, the same 15- and 16-year-olds who might have been seated in the stand in Portlaoise that day, or maybe looked on YouTube at the footage later, of just how their club deals with an affront to its machismo.

Maybe these are the same 15- and 16-year-olds who will now have a clearer understanding that actions have consequences and who will look forward to some day representing their club with distinction in the provincial championship.

Sure, this punishment may appear harsh but it is just possible that a line has been drawn in the sand. If so, there has to be a first to suffer, and so it is for Derrytresk. And in the future, others who cross the line should suffer a similar fate, even in cases - like this one - where it was out of character.

Hopefully this punishment will serve as a warning to other clubs that they are responsible for the actions of their players and officials, and that it can no longer be seen as unreasonable to take a view of the culture within that club based on the behaviour of its main representatives.

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