Citing old case 'wrong'


Seán Morangets the views of football analyst Gerry McDermott over recent disciplinary controversies

There has been renewed questioning of statements made by leading GAA officials concerning recent disciplinary controversies. In Tuesday's Irish Times association president Nickey Brennan took issue with comments the previous weekend by football analyst Gerry McDermott, who has worked with, among others, Donegal, Tyrone and Laois.

In an article in last week's Sunday Tribune McDermott contended that Brennan had been wrong when, in response to questions about whether Graham Geraghty would face charges for incidents in the Dublin-Meath match, he said that as result of the Ryan McMenamin DRA case in 2005 "we don't have the authority to revisit the matter". Speaking to this newspaper yesterday McDermott elaborated: "The Ryan McMenamin case is history because the rule has changed since then with the coming into force of changes in January 2007. Prior to that date if the referee dealt with an incident, eg issued a yellow card instead of a red, it could not be revisited.

"Quoting the Ryan McMenamin case with regard to incidents occurring since the new Rule 144 was introduced last January is confusing the issue at this stage.

"Nickey Brennan said in an interview which appeared in The Irish Times last Tuesday that my 'piece missed the point'. The president also stated that the Central Competitions Control Committee was aware of their powers under Rule 144.

"I never said that the CCCC was not aware of their powers under Rule 144. My point was that the president clearly stated in interviews last week, 'we don't have the authority to revisit the matter' because of the Ryan McMenamin case in 2005."

McDermott went on to question comments made by other leading GAA officials to the effect that if a referee is seen "to deal with an issue" no further action can be taken. Earlier yesterday Clare county chairman Michael McDonagh, reacting to the suspensions arising from the Cork-Clare fracas in Thurles, said on RTÉ Radio One that referee Pat O'Connor had spoken to players after the fracas and as a result "had dealt with the incident".

"That is no longer the case," according to McDermott. "If the CCCC decide not to take any further action and accept the referee's report (as they have done in the Graham Geraghty case) then that's the end of it. If, however, clarification is requested and the referee reports back in writing to the CCCC stating that he is satisfied that he did not make a mistake and the action he took was appropriate, then the player in question will not suffer a suspension.

"But if the referee reports back stating that he made a mistake and he should have issued a red card instead of a yellow, then the player is charged and the committee propose a suspension which the player can either accept or reject. If he accepts it, he is suspended as appropriate but if he doesn't accept, he can seek a hearing.

"The important thing here is that the CCCC now have the authority under Rule 144 to revisit a case and request clarification from the referee where they are in the course of investigating a possible infraction not stated in his report even if the incident itself is disclosed - and this covers reporting a foul as something less serious than it is.

"The president appears to have missed this point. I cannot see what all the fuss is about because Rule 144 is perfectly clear in this regard."