Thuggery still blackens the GAA's name
It saddens me that - once again - this column returns to the theme of on-field violence in the GAA.
It's unquestionably the greatest amateur sporting organisation on earth and we are all justifiably and immensely proud of its contribution to our national identity.
Nevertheless the violence that marred the Kerry senior hurling championship final last Sunday must be deplored and condemned by all, including those at the highest levels in the GAA.
The game, between Lixnaw and Kilmoyley, witnessed a brutal off-the-ball incident just before the second half started.
Eye-witnesses told how Paul Galvin clashed with an opponent from Kilmoyley, prompting a melee, before the Kilmoyley vice-chairman Paddy O'Sullivan ran towards Galvin swinging wildly with a hurl.
Lixnaw management later revealed that Galvin was struck during the incident.
Mercifully Paul was wearing a helmet, otherwise he would have been severely injured. In fact one witness later stated that Paul was lucky he wasn't decapitated. The match was allowed to continue and ended in a draw.
This assault merits the most severe sanction.
At the very least the Lixnaw team should be awarded the final and the Kilmoyley official involved banned from all GAA fixtures and grounds for 10 years.
Only by sending out a clear and unambiguous message can the GAA ever hope to stamp out the thuggery that continues to blacken the good name of the organisation.