Duffy backs action over assaults


GAELIC GAMES:GAA DIRECTOR general Páraic Duffy yesterday said the association had no issue with criminal prosecutions arising from assaults at games. He was answering questions about the violence that broke out at club championship matches in Cavan and Limerick last weekend.

Martin Stokes, father of Drom-Broadford player Jason, had a 96-week suspension proposed by the Central Competitions Control Committee following an incident with Newcastle West player James Kelly during Sunday’s Limerick county football final.

“That (criminal prosecutions in general) is a matter for the gardaí and if the gardaí decide to go that way, we don’t have any issue with that,” said Duffy. “All we can do is to ensure issues around our grounds, around people on the pitch, around things we can control ourselves, we have got to look at that. Clearly if there are lessons to be learned around that we have to take them on board.

“What we have to do is deal with our own rules and look at the issue of security around playing pitches, around numbers on the sideline and so on. That is the question we have to address.”

In England this week, Aaron Cawley was jailed for four months for assaulting Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper Chris Kirkland after entering the field of play during the Championship game against Leeds United at Hillsborough.

“We seem to run into this every year in terms of the club championship,” Duffy admitted. “It is disappointing. I don’t want to comment on individual cases because some of them are going to be processed, but it is disappointing we seem to have this issue every year when it does come to the club championship. What can you do about this?

“It is very hard on a national basis; these happen in individual counties. All I will say is you don’t want to see this happening, it does nothing for the image of the association. All we can say is we hope where incidents like that happen they will be properly and quickly dealt with under the rules.”

Duffy was asked whether the GAA could legislate for someone running on to the field of play. “No, you can’t,” said Duffy. “That is a security issue and that is part of it as well. Clearly you can’t, and it happened last week in the Leeds-Sheffield Wednesday game, so no, you can’t really, but we need to look at ourselves to see if there are things that we can do better to avoid these incidents happening.”

Meanwhile, Dublin hurler Tomás Brady has switched allegiance to Jim Gavin’s Dublin football panel for the 2013 campaign.

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