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Twitter patter has GAA chiefs in a tizz but no laws have been broken

By Declan Bogue

A weekend of club Championship action in Fermanagh has ended with controversy surrounding comments made by players and team management on the social networking site, Twitter.

Following the programme of games, County public relations officer Johnny McManus sought clarification from Croke Park's Director of Communications, Lisa Clancy on the matter.

A possible charge of bringing the game into disrepute was averted, when Clancy informed McManus there was nothing in effect the GAA can do if views on officials appeared on Twitter.

It is believed that there is a precedent in this regard, when a high-profile person in the Irish media recently claimed that tweets sent criticising a body was not in fact written by them, but by somebody else who had access to their Twitter account temporarily.

Games played on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as a double-header in Brewster Park on Sunday, drew the ire of some of the competitors, with criticism of referees featuring heavily.

“It's disheartening to see players do it,” commented McManus.

In recent times, Dessie Farrell from the Gaelic Player's Association has urged players to resist tweeting on games to allow a 'cooling-off' period.

Claims made by other players about the qualifiers draw that paired Kildare with Cavan in the wake of the Seanie Johnston transfer also met with an angry response from GAA President Liam O'Neill.

Meanwhile, the stormy meeting between defending champions Roslea Shamrocks and Derrygonnelly Harps could lead to disciplinary action in the form of suspensions.

With Derrygonnelly leading heading into extra-time, the fourth official signalled that there were five minutes of injury time to play.

When Roslea went ahead by a point, their attacker Sean Quigley was booked when he prevented the kickout being taken.

Referee Martin Higgins stopped the game to book him, and the play was also held up when a flare-up between the two teams began.

As a result, reporters at the match confirmed that the injury time period continued for eight minutes.

With the last play of the game, Derrygonnelly's Paul Ward was fouled inside the small square, and a penalty awarded.

Jonathan McGurn subsequently converted the kick, and knocked Roslea out of the race for the New York Cup.

At the final whistle, an altercation occurred, and Roslea forward Seamus Quigley was awarded a straight red card after an incident involving Higgins.

Later this week, the county board will host a meeting to determine whether disciplinary action will arise from the ugly scenes that marred the end of a thrilling match.

“There is definitely a meeting on Thursday night and there will be an investigation into it. That will be the Competitions Control Committee, and they will be looking into the referee's report,” confirmed McManus.

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