Mulvihill to continue fight against restrictions


Croke Park has issued a strongly-worded response to certain high-vocal concerns about the association’s new sideline restrictions, which now limits teams to just one medic on the edge of the pitch during the course of game.

Kildare’s long-serving team doctor, Danny Mulvihill, yesterday reiterated his concerns about the sideline restrictions, which effectively forces teams to decide between allowing either their team doctor or team physio on the sideline.

Under the new regulations, approved by Central Council before Christmas, then endorsed at their meeting last month, the former 12 sideline positions are now reduced to five, namely the team manager, a selector, one medic and two water/hurley carriers.

Such was Dr Mulvihill’s concerns that he publicly flouted the new restriction, taking up a position on the sideline in Croke Park last Saturday evening, along with team physio Noel Mallon, for Kildare’s game against Donegal.

Heard nothing

Dr Mulvihill followed that up by claiming he would continue to ignore the restriction, despite the threat of fines, and that after first hearing about the restrictions he’d “subsequently made a submission, by email, to Croke Park, but have heard nothing back”.

But according to the GAA’s head of games administration and player welfare Feargal McGill, the matter has now been twice discussed by Central Council, and that if Dr Mulvihill still had further concerns he should approach Croke Park directly.

“As far as I am concerned there has been ongoing communication, over the past fortnight, with Dr Mulvihill,” said McGill. “On several occasions the offer was made to meet with him, and discuss his concerns, and that offer is still there . . .”

Dr Mulvihill is in fact a former chairman of the GAA’s Medical and Welfare Committee. Though he remains firmly opposed to the restriction, it’s unclear just how widespread those concerns actually are.

Late last year, before Central Council agreed to the new restriction, all counties were asked to discuss the issue with their respective medics, to make sure there were comfortable with the new arrangements. And last week the Ulster Council reiterated their backing to what Central Council agreed, having trialled the new arrangements during last month’s Dr McKenna Cup.

The original and main intention of the new sideline restriction, which has also had the backing of GAA president Liam O’Neill, was to avoid confrontations between rival managers and selectors. Under the new restriction there is also a newly defined area in which a manager can move, to within a 20-metre strip.

Dublin county chairman Andy Kettle has outlined his concerns that the new regulation was too restrictive in that all county board officials are now confined to either the stands or assigned dugout, and no longer permitted to be on the sidelines either.

Kettle in fact raised these concerns at the last meeting of Central Council, on Saturday, January 26th, but no amendment was made.

“I’ve had communication from other county chairs, expressing unease with the proposal. The original proposal was for seven but at the last minute it was reduced to five. I’d be happy if was seven, once it involved a county board representative,” said Kettle.

Height of summer

“Having only one water carrier would be another concern, at the height of summer anyway. My understanding was that medical advice indicated four were needed . . . ”

Dublin also saw for themselves what the new medic restrictions mean, when Paul Mannion sustained a concussion during Saturday’s game against Cork, and required some six minutes of treatment on the field, by both team physio Ciarán O’Reilly, and then team doctor David Hickey.

Central Council don’t meet again until March 22nd, on the eve of GAA Congress in Derry.

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