Cooney support for more serious row deterrents
CHRISTY COONEY has said the GAA may have to consider more draconian punishments, such as the docking of league points, as a deterrent to the scourge of one-in, all-in rows.
The GAA president's comments come in the wake of this week's CCCC proposal to fine the Kildare and Monaghan county boards €5,000 each arising from last Sunday's mass melee at their Allianz NFL Division 2 clash in St Tiernach's Park, Clones as well as the fines imposed on Cork and Armagh and the retrospective suspensions.
Asked if Croke Park may have to consider an alternative to fines in the future, Cooney admitted: "I think that might come. If the deterrent that is put in place now by the CCCC doesn't get the required response from counties, I think maybe the CCCC will have to look at it in another way, certainly.
"What that is I don't know, I haven't thought about it," he added.
"But it will certainly have to be looked at because what happened in Cork and Armagh, and between Monaghan and Kildare, is unacceptable and it cannot continue."
Following a rule change several years ago, contributing to a melee is now a sending-off offence and Cooney argued that the current system of red cards and resultant suspensions remained the "strongest deterrent" available.
When pressed on whether players viewed this rule as a strong enough deterrent, the Corkman declared: "Can I just say that it's unacceptable behaviour, it has to be stopped. CCCC have taken a course of action this week.
"It's an appalling image for our association, and we have to deal with it -- end of story."
However, Cooney staunchly defended the GAA's ongoing response to violent incidents such as the recent Derrytresk/Dromid fracas during their All-Ireland club JFC semi-final.
"We'll always have discipline issues because players are human beings, they'll do things they shouldn't do," he reasoned.
"But I think our disciplinary system has worked extremely well. There has been, I think, one case that has gone to the DRA over the last three years. One case.
"So that clearly recognises that CCCC and the Hearings Committee are doing their job well; number two (they) are being fair and balanced to all our officials and players; and number three that players are accepting their punishment," concluded Cooney.