Players must take responsibility for the ‘absolutely unacceptable’ scenes at yesterday’s All-Ireland football quarter final, according to former GAA president Liam O’Neill.
A large brawl broke out at the end of normal time in the match between Galway and Armagh – with cameras picking up an apparent eye-gouge on Galway star Damien Comer.
Gardaí say they have yet to receive any complaint in relation to fight which involved players, backroom staff and subs from both sides.
The GAA Central Competitions Control Committee has said it is investigating a number of incidents at the match.
On The Pat Kenny Show this morning, former GAA president Liam O’Neill said he would have no problem with Gardai getting involved.
“If that happened on the street and if there was evidence, Gardaí would look at it,” he said.
“I’ve no difficulty with a player or anybody else - an official, doesn’t matter who it is - answering in public for misbehaviour in public.”
"Just not acceptable"
He said the players must take responsibility for their own actions.
“If it’s not acceptable to strike somebody in public view on the street, it’s not acceptable to do it on the pitch – or worse still on the sidelines afterwards.
“There was no controversy at the end of that game. That game ended in a welter of excitement. People should have gone to the dressing rooms and sort of thought, isn’t it great we have 20 minutes more to play here.
“But no. Somebody decided to take an action to strike somebody else. That is just not acceptable.”
Mr O’Neill said regulations introduced during his presidency to limit the number of people permitted on the sidelines have been gradually rolled back in the last decade.
“People suggested things were going well and it was OK to go back to the way we were before,” he said. “It isn’t. It is not good enough and we really have to address it.”
He said the only people needed on the sidelines are the managers and the water carriers.
“We had the medics put in the stands,” he said. “Everybody, the selectors and everybody else were put in the stands and we had just the manager and the runner on the sideline.
“There’s no need for anybody else. I really don’t understand why we need anybody else except maybe some watercarriers – although we dealt with that during the pandemic with the water break.
“The extended panel should be in the stand and should stay in the stand. I can’t see what they bring to the dressing room at halftime, and we really need to address this.
Meanwhile, On Newstalk Breakfast, former Galway All Ireland winning footballer Ray Silke said the GAA needs to deal with its culture of violence.
“The GAA needs to nearly take that kind of a stance where it has consistent sanctions against those who do it,” he said.
“Proper discipline that is accepted because I think administrators and players have to take a certain amount of personal responsibility.
“The eye gouging was probably the worst incident in that. I am not condoning any other part of it, but the eye-gouging probably inflamed an already tense situation.”
You can listen back to Mr O’Reilly here:
You can listen back Ray Silke here: