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Greenan on the warpath

By John Campbell

Ulster chairman fires a broadside at 'one-way Rules traffic'

Ulster Council chairman Micheal Greenan has slammed what he describes as the "one way traffic" in relation to players from this country being targetted by Australian Rules clubs.

Greenan, who steps down from office in February having served a three-year term, has called on the GAA authorities to immediately sever their links with the Australian Football League.

"Do you ever see young Australians coming over here to play gaelic games? Of course you don't. All the traffic goes the other way with our best young players being tapped. It's something that I for one am not in favour of and the sooner we rid ourselves of this Rules series, the better it will be," rapped Greenan.

The Cavan man, a former inter-county referee and an outspoken critic of the International Rules - and of the opening of Croke Park to rugby and soccer - has not only denounced the violence that marred the second Rules Test last month but said that Australia will soon be sending "a team of champion boxers."

Greenan is anxious to see the GAA "promote its own games" rather than have anything to do with the hybrid code.

"People talk about the compromise rules but there's no compromise as far as I am concerned. The GAA do all the compromising - it's all one way and totally unsatisfactory from every viewpoint," declared Greenan.

But in condemning the violence that marked the recent Rules contest he has also hit out at the sinister undercurrent of thuggery that has blighted several recent high-profile GAA games.

"The thuggery is being carried over. We have had only incident of this here in Ulster but we know that many counties outside the province have bee hit," admitted Greenan.

And he has mounted a vibrant defence of referees, many of whom have been victims of verbal and physical abuse lately.

"The playing rules are the same for an Under 14 match as they are for an All Ireland final. It's how the rules are implemented and respected, that's what matters. A lot of people say that referees should use common sense but often they are in a no-win situation.

"They are being asked to let the game flow but what does that mean? A referee allows play to continue when something has happened and he's condemned and if he blows the incident up he's pilloried as well. He just can't win. There has to be respect for the playing rules and an end to the total thuggery that we have been seeing lately," stressed Greenan.

He will be succeeded by Donegal man Tom Daly, the current Ulster Council treasurer, as president when the Council's Convention takes place in February next.

"But there is a lot to be done between now and then - the show must go on," said the indefatigueable and larger than life Greenan.

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