You might think it would be impossible for somebody in a wheelchair to pull a hamstring. Believe me, I can painfully inform you to the contrary. Which is why, the minute Meath’s Shane Walsh went down in the 13th minute of Sunday’s NFL victory over Clare, the reason was all too obvious. Colm O’Rourke’s rage at what he called “A disgraceful abuse of players” in reference to the Sigerson Cup is both understandable and spot on.
Now, myself and the Meath boss have extremely polarised views on the third level competition, but, you wonder, though, might his current displeasure with it prompt the Brains Trust to at least acknowledge that the Sigerson and Fitzgibbon Cups are currently the two biggest elephants in the GAA’s living room.
I cannot stand them. They are the biggest waste of time on the Association’s calendar and another unecessary burden on already overly taxed players. In comparison to GAA games in Primary or Secondary schools, what purpose does it serve? To my mind, none.
Mind you, the above is only one of a number of headaches currently occupying Larry McCarthy and Co’s in-tray. Exhibit A of which is undoubtedly farce surrounding the conclusion of the All Ireland Club SFC Final.
Look, everyone knows what happened at this stage. In no way do I believe the error was anything deliberate on the part of Kilmacud Crokes. Moreover, it can surely be taken as read, also, that nobody had the slightest objection to Watty Grahams of Glen in Co Derry seeking redress where they were so obviously wronged.
However, somewhere between the GAA fan in me and the recently returned administrator, I cannot but feel sorry for both clubs involved. Yes, Crokes made error. The last man that didn’t died on a cross. Fat lot of good it did him.
In the cauldron of top level activity, sporting or otherwise, these things happen. They shouldn’t, but they do. In the dying embers of an All Ireland Final, brains will be scrambled more than any pot of eggs. Just ask Meath’s Jimmy McGuinness.
As the bell was about to toll for Mayo in 1996 All Ireland Final Replay, ‘Boots’ was ambling down the Hogan Stand side of Croke Park when he obviously saw a Smyth, Cummins or some other Dunsany legend in the Hogan, took his eye off the ball and allowed Mayo sub Tom Reilly pilfer possession. Mercifully, he was as good at kicking wides as were his colleagues!
Anyway, my reason for including the above was that, yes, teams make mistakes, but, where Jimmy could’ve had nobody to blame if Reilly had scored. In contrast, including the HawkEye official, there’s a team of nine officiating at such games and how None of them could copped that Crokes had made a faux pas is not only scandalous but a terrible dereliction of duty at least some of them are getting well paid to carry out.
If substitutions are not the remit of the Fourth Official what other purpose do they serve? But of course, as with the furore surrounding the 2010 Leinster Final, the GAA bottled it, took the easy way out and threw the onus back on the participating teams.
An utter disgrace. But symbolic of an organisation with their priorities up where the sun don’t shine. Add to all of what has already been documented the putrid refereeing in The All Ireland Club JFC Final.
How Paudie Clifford could be sent off after the rail roading he, in particular but not exclusively, had received, is truly baffling. Fair play to the Fossa man for calling out the lunacy.
A bookie would offer you short odds on the suits recommending an unscheduled holiday for the brilliant brother Clifford. Sure they’re only players, who needs them…