herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Meath must regret not holding counsel

IT was disappointing that last weekend's provincial final win by Dublin was overshadowed by an allegation of biting from Meath's Mickey Burke.

I firmly believe that Meath manager Mick O'Dowd acted too quickly when surrounded by the raw emotion of a heavy defeat, which can be understandable.

Different

If he had have taken time out to review the actions of his own players in the incident, his judgement may have been very different.

It is no coincidence that Burke and the Meath management decided during the week that they did not want to pursue the matter as there was more evidence to incriminate their own players rather than there was proof of any biting.

Any form of such behaviour is unacceptable in our games and who am I to throw stones.

However, the label and stigma associated with biting will always overshadow many other forms of inflicting injury but they can be as serious in nature. The media reaction and nature of this type of incident in all high profile sports means that any allegation of biting has potential serious 
consequences for all involved - on and off the pitch.

I was amazed in recent days how headlines surrounding the incident read 'O'Gara in the clear'. Was Eoghan O'Gara the only party involved in this episode? Certainly not.

A lot of the reporting of this incident was unfair and unreasonable, as clearly there were a number of players involved, none more so than Burke.

This should be a lesson to every player to make sure the alleged guilty party does have a case to answer before shooting from the lip.

There is also the wider issue that the GAA can stand behind the fact that the referee dealt with the incident at the time which can allow acts of indiscipline to be tolerated and it is an issue they must consider going forward.

It is now a closed chapter, time to move on.

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