A question of discipline

Discipline, or, more correctly, the lack of it was the main GAA talking point at the weekend.

We had it in our own camp with the Aidan Campbell affair, where the Swinford man was dropped from Saturday’s starting fifteen against Kerry in the All-Ireland U21 semi-final following what the Hogan Stand describes as his involvement in some post-Sigerson “high-jinks” earlier in the week. Campbell, who was an All-Ireland medallist with the U21s back in 2006, was the main man for us in the forwards this year so dropping him from the team was a punishment not only for the player himself but also his teammates, something which was painfully obvious for the first 25 minutes of the match against Kerry.

When he did finally take the field late in the first half, Campbell brought some shape and purpose to the attack but, of course, the pity is that he didn’t have the cop-on earlier in the week to keep himself in check, especially with such a big game for the county coming up a few days later. Had he been on from the start, we’d probably have won the game and so it’s fairly obvious that the young Swinford man won’t be feeling too clever about himself for a while. He’ll also be very lucky, one feels, to escape the axe when Johnno reduces his squad ahead of the championship shortly. For a player of such immense promise, this is all a huge let-down and it’s only to be hoped that he’ll learn from the episode and come back a wiser person and a more committed player.

At least Aidan can claim a dispensation based on his relative youth. Not so most of the participants in that all-out donnybrook at Parnell Park yesterday, where Dublin and Meath gave a passing impersonation of a full-contact training session ahead of the resumed International Rules series. Paddy Russell dealt effectively with the brawl, though he could really have sent off anyone of those directly involved (I thought Diarmuid Connolly, Dublin’s no. 22, was lucky to stay on: if you look at the clip again, you’ll see that he was one of the instigators of the trouble and kept involved until felled by a haymaker from an unidentified Meathman a little later on).

And then our old friend Ciaran Whelan got an early shower too (with Paddy Russell finally recognising a red card offence from Whelan as such – two years on, better late than never, I suppose), with his departure overshadowed by Teagate. Luckily for Whelo, the idiot who fecked the tea at him was as good a shot as the eejit who hurled the wooden spoon at Kieran Donaghy down in McHale Park a few weeks back.

We can now expect plenty of hand-wringing over this latest breakdown in discipline but, as usual, bugger all will be done about it. If the GAA really wanted to stamp out this kind of crack, we need to start seeing swingeing suspensions (of the 12-16 week variety) plus siginificant fines for the two county boards. What are chances of that happening, I wonder? We’ll get plenty of cant and dark mutterings, to be sure, but, as usual, nothing in the way of decisive action.

In fairness to Pat Holmes and his colleagues, they weren’t afraid to mete out some tough punishment to Aidan Campbell and, in doing so, put their charges at a significant disadvantage vis-a-vis their All-Ireland semi-final opponents. It would be asking a lot of the GAA to take firm action against Leinster’s leading counties, action that could weaken both of them in this year’s provincial campaign. However, the two counties have brought it on themselves and the GAA should have the cojones to throw the book at the pair of them.

3 thoughts on “A question of discipline

  1. I actually feel sorry for young Campell. We hear a lot about burnout, Campell played on Tuesday in the eternally delayed Sigerson and was probably dissapointed and at one with his defeated comrades after a major battle involving extra time. He is out again the following Saturday, now any of us could do the same, one thing leads to another and bobs your uncle. However I believe the managment called it wrong. I have nothing but respect for the managment team involved and it was not an easy call to make. The premise was that if we could win without Campell all would have been the beneficeries of the lesson. However Kerry got off to a whirlwind start, we had the wind and failed to prosper so we called in the man that was dropped. Kerry were the winners there, and I acknowledge that I would hate to be in the position of the manager but it probably cost us. I hope the Mayo supporters leave the lad alone. We need him, I was very impressed by the number 14 and the performances of Cunniffe, O Shea and Parsons. We have a future with a bit of luck when these guys put a bit of meat on and get a little cuter.

  2. I don’t know what I would have done in Pat Holmes shoes at the weekend, but it is particularly disappointing when circumstances within the Mayo camp contribute to a Kerry win. it brings back memories of the 1997 senior final when there was friction in the Mayo camp and Kerry came out smiling. No matter what level or stage you play Kerry, you need all guns blazing to win.

    On the other hand, it is good to see the reaction of the GAA to the nonsense in Parnell Park on Sunday. 16 suspended between the two teams. It will certainly weaken both teams for the start of the Championship.It will be interesting to see if there are appeals. If Cork were involved, you would get short odds on them all getting off!
    A friend of mine, who has given numerous hours of his busy life serving Dublin GAA through the training of young players has suggested that the GAA should go further. When a fracas such as this occurs in the league, both teams should have 4 league points deducted. If it happens in the Championship, throw them out of the competition! And that’s from a lifetime Dub!

    Somehow, I think that the Frank Murphy and the lawyers would have a great time with that one.

  3. I feel sorry for Aidan as well – we were all fond of the one more at that age! I hope Johnno doesn’t ditch him – he’s definitely one for the future and could do with seeing some championship action this year.

    The GAA’s swift action on the Parnell Park fracas was, as well as proving me wrong, a welcome development. Both counties deserve what they got and, if anything, the suspensions should have been longer – that would really make them think twice about getting involved in such shenanigans again. Hopefully, all concerned will now serve their time having done the crime.

    The other point about this incident which I thought was appalling were the post-match interviews with Pillar Caffrey and Colm Coyle. Pillar pronounced that he had no problem with the ref: very interesting, I’m sure, but he had nothing at all to say about the complete loss of control on the part of his players on the pitch or his role in failing to exercise any control over them. Talk about missing the point! Colm Coyle had this smirk on his face and came out with some old bullshit about being like Arsene Wenger and having not seen anything that happened on the pitch. From his demeanour it was obvious he thought the whole thing was great gas altogether. Both County Boards should do something to censure these two gobshites – their performance was nearly as bad as that of their players.

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