Cooney rules out the use of video technology


GAELIC GAMES:GAA PRESIDENT Christy Cooney has given the clearest indication yet that Hawk-Eye, or any video technology, will not be adopted next season despite several officiating errors which led to ‘illegal’ scores in high-profile fixtures during the 2010 football and hurling championships.

“Generally, as it stands at the moment, the CCCC have ruled out the use of technology,” said Cooney. “I have expressed my own opinion on it; I think there is very little wrong with what is going on.”

Following a meeting with the British-based Hawk-Eye company, who have offered their service for free, the GAA research committee, chaired by Seán Donnelly, will present a report to the management committee next month.

“The policy at the moment of the association is that we are not introducing any technology within our games. That is not to say that we won’t continue to look at things going forward in the future.

“If there is something that can be of assistance or a help to us . . . Hawk-Eye is one option, this netting (behind the goal posts) is another option.”

Cooney conceded this season’s errors have proved costly and even referred to Joe Sheridan’s blatantly illegal goal that decided the Leinster football final and Benny Coulter’s square-ball goal that assisted Down’s progress to the All-Ireland final.

In hurling, there have been incidents of disallowed points, such as Joe Canning’s shot against Offaly that was inside the posts but waved wide by an umpire. “(Using technology) has to be a perfect fit in my view and I am not too sure that can be achieved, but let’s see what happens,” Cooney continued.

“We’ve got to decide, where do you start and where do you finish with the technology. Is it frees? Is it square goals? Is it yellow cards or red? How much time does it take? How many calls do you make in a match? Is it points? Where do you start and where do you stop?

“I’ve said this before; our games are built on passion. Our games are about the continuous flow of the game. The last thing I want is a lot of stoppages. It doesn’t do anything to help us.

“At the end of the day, the onus or responsibility for making decisions rests with our referees and that will never change. It has to be that way. One person can only make the final decision. The referee has the authority and can consult with his six officials.

“Rugby officials only look at the try – they don’t look at forward hand-passing. We are talking about a totally different game. I don’t think we need any change. What happens are rare enough, of course, when they happen they create a big furore. In sport, you are lucky some days, unlucky on other days. Ninety nine per cent of our players will roll with it.”

It is true most GAA players asked about this topic would not advocate a reliance on video technology, just improved officiating, but Cooney was keen to stress the constant work being done with referees, linesmen and umpires (who are still selected by referees).

“I understand (player frustration), but all we can do is keep working with umpires to ensure the decisions that are made are the right decisions, the best decisions and we will keep doing that. We will continue to train our referees and continue the critical analysis of referees.”

The GAA president also confirmed the presentation system in place for the hurling All-Ireland final would also be adopted for the football final between Down and Cork on Sunday week. That means the winning captain will receive the Sam Maguire Cup from Cooney on the steps of the Hogan Stand.

“I’m happy to have the presentation from the Hogan Stand – it has traditionally been from there. The behaviour of the (Tipperary) fans was absolutely awesome. We couldn’t be more thrilled. Even people that were sceptical about it could see the advantage of it.

“Particularly, look at the Kilkenny players, Henry Shefflin was on crutches, they wouldn’t have been able to stand out there and pay due tribute to Tipperary.

“It really sent a message that everybody can enjoy the day without rushing on the field. Push and shove, tear and belt – it is not necessary.

“Hopefully, if we can get the mindset right of every fan that comes here over the next few years we can take down the screen again.”

Cooney was speaking yesterday at the launch of the 15th annual Asian Gaelic Games which will be held in Hong Kong on September 25th and 26th.

What is Hawk-eye?

Hawk-Eye is a computer system that has been adopted by several sports, including professional cricket and tennis, to track the path of the ball and display a record of its most statistically likely path as a moving image to counteract human error.

It uses the principles of triangulation with four high-speed video cameras.

The system generates a graphic image of the ball path and playing area, which can provide accurate information to referees, judges, television viewers and coaches in near real time.