Dublin boss Jim Gavin calls for protection of skilful players

Manager unhappy over treatment meted out to Diarmuid Connolly which went unpunished

Dublin football manager Jim Gavin has expressed concern about the lack of protection for skilful players. This stems from an incident involving Diarmuid Connolly and Cork’s Jamie O’Sullivan during the league final. After releasing possession Connolly was elbowed in the face by O’Sullivan.

No action was taken by unsighted match officials but clear video evidence meant the central competition control (CCC) committee could investigate. But no disciplinary hearing followed.

“I wouldn’t like to think there is a precedent set by Tony O’Keeffe, the chairman of the CCC, in that it is acceptable that skilful players on our team and other teams can be physically targeted and it is going to be accepted,” said Gavin.

“That just needs to be completely eradicated through the use of black cards or other colours. . . I don’t know the evidence that was presented to them. I do know it might not have been in the referee’s report if it’s off the ball as it’s very hard for all the officials to see it in a very dynamic game.

“But we are seeing players being targeted. I just hope it’s not a precedent we’re seeing that the CCC will let this go without some form of action.”

Regarding increased reports of verbal abuse, Gavin states the black card sanction must be more stringently applied. “The black card clearly states if there is any provocative language, provocative gestures to an opponent or indeed your own player that you are automatically removed from the game and referees don’t have a choice. It is their job to apply the rules.”

Gavin also believes his fellow managers must take responsibility to eradicate this culture of personal abuse in football.

“It’s completely unacceptable. It’s a form of cheating. I’d go so strong to say if there is a culture in a team a manager has control of, then a manager needs to be held accountable for that. . .

“Certainly in the Dublin set-up if I see a player being aggressive towards a referee I’d expect to see him walk towards the line. I wouldn’t tolerate it. We are encouraging our younger generation to give respect.”

The 43-year-old also confirmed his initial three-year tenure as Dublin manager has been extended for two more seasons until 2017. “I go from year to year anyway. There are no contracts signed. It’s an agreement between myself and the officers of the county board. We’re all volunteers and that’s the way it works. If they want me to stay on, I’ll stay on. We just put a bit of structure on it.”

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