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O'Neill highlights Hawk-Eye blind spot and declares doubts remain on roll-out

DOUBTS have arisen over Hawk-Eye's suitability to arbitrate on disputed points in football and hurling after Liam O'Neill confirmed that the score-detection system won't be used in this year's championships.

The GAA president also retains an "open mind" on whether Hawk-Eye or video technology is the best way of resolving whether attempted points have gone over the bar or wide.

The GAA agreed at last year's annual Congress to introduce Hawk-Eye (already successfully used in tennis and cricket) on a two-year trial basis for championship matches played at Croke Park.

The system was due to be unveiled this summer but its roll-out was postponed last May because of glitches.

The debate over score technology has been propelled back into the headlines in the wake of Eoghan O'Gara's belatedly awarded point for Dublin against Meath during last Sunday's Leinster SFC final.

However, speaking at the launch of the GAA's All-Ireland football series, O'Neill said it is "fair to surmise" that Hawk-Eye won't be used during this year's championship.


"We will not be pushed on any deadline for Hawk-Eye until we know that it is 100 per cent right and when the decisions can be conveyed to the referee in time for him for the game not to have moved on. That is the significant thing," the president outlined.

"It seems the length of time it takes to get (this information) back is taking slightly longer at the moment because of the speed of our ball and the vastness of the space that is taken up by the pitch. Technology has to catch up with our game.

"We all know that Hawk-Eye works, but it works in a confined space and we know where it works. The difficulty now is that it has to work in the size of our stadia to convey that information as quickly as it does for cricket or tennis," O'Neill added.

"And we are not going to be pressurised into that - when it is right we will do it."


Asked if there was any need for Hawk-Eye in light of last Sunday's incident, when video replays conclusively proved the legitimacy of O'Gara's point, the Laois man replied: "I don't know, that's the honest answer.

"That's why we are experimenting with it. There have been a number of incidents over the last couple of years that the screen could do it, but the screen can't see everything.

"We are open-minded enough to take what is best, and if the video technology is ahead of Hawk-Eye that is fine.

"You have to remember that Hawk-Eye will do what Hawk-Eye says it can do, tell you where the ball is in a certain space."

Problems can also be caused by, in the literal sense, moving goalposts. "Apparently posts do move and that is a difficulty," O'Neill admitted.

"A cricket stump does not move or the line in tennis does not move, but goalposts apparently do. Our games pose a challenge to technology that other games have not, where it has been tried so far."


Meanwhile, O'Neill reiterated Croke Park's position that linesman Maurice Deegan only intervened last Sunday - to tell referee Marty Duffy it was a point - because he had seen O'Gara's shot in real time, rather than being influenced by its replay on the big screen.

But when asked if officials potentially using the big screen in such incidents would make the GAA feel uncomfortable, the president replied: "Doing the right thing would never make me feel uncomfortable.

"I think you have to be brave enough to do the right thing and, as long as you do the right thing, that is what we are here for.

"Everyone wants to see if someone gets a score that they are entitled to it."