herald

Friday 2 December 2016

penalty may soften cough of 'sledgers'

Quinn says mouthing worse in GAA than AFL

Longford football

LONGFORD'S Michael Quinn says the severity of 'sledging' is "more intense," within Gaelic football than it is in the Australian Football League.

His words carrying deeper resonance following an accusation by Donegal minor manager, Declan Bonner, that his captain, Micheál Carroll, was taunted by opposing Tyrone players about the passing of his father during last Sunday's Ulster MFC clash in Ballybofey.

cancer

Francie Carroll, a former Donegal senior player himself, died after a short battle with cancer in February of last year.

Quinn, who spent three years with Aussie Rules outfit Essendon, recalls being called "milk bottle", or "pasty", on the pitch during his time down under, but dismissed such jibes as "innocent stuff," by comparison to the verbal abuse more customarily heard and passed during Gaelic football matches.

"It would probably get more intense," he explained. "You'd laugh that stuff (in the AFL) off a bit more easily. But it's tough too.

"If a game isn't going your way it's very easy to react. That's what they're trying to do with the sledging, they're trying to get a reaction, if you don't react, you'd hope that it would kind of die out."

Largely, 'sledging' is considered distasteful in the AFL and teams have, in the past, suspended their own players for engaging in such behaviour.

"It's such a small community in the GAA that guys know more about personal matters or what's going on off the field and they're brought into it," Quinn outlined, adding that residual resentment can linger as a result.

"There are guys who can leave it on the pitch and shake hands after it. But there are situations where stuff is said and they say it's left on the pitch but the next time they're on the pitch, it's there."

One possible solution, Quinn reckons, is the adaptation of the AFL's 50-metre rule which is awarded if a player "engages in time wasting, uses abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene language towards an umpire or behaves in an abusive, insulting, threatening or obscene manner towards an umpire or disputes the decision of an umpire".

"It's a huge penalty," the Longford player explains.

"Whether something like that came into Gaelic football, would it benefit it? It might clamp down on things a good bit. I think personally it kind of helped (in the AFL).

"It promotes that kind of 'keep quiet' attitude and it gives respect to the referees as well.

"You look at the rugby players, there is that respect there. I suppose there's always going to be a small bit off the ball that you can't control as well."

thrive

As to whether he believed players have been coached or instructed to sledge, Quinn replied: "I think it's more of a personal thing."

"Some players are good at it and can do it.

"Other players it takes away from their own game and puts them off moreso. I think some people thrive on it and others can't really do it.

Quinn concluded: "I suppose the line is very grey. Where is too far?"

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