Yesterday’s confirmation that Evan Regan had suffered a “facial bone fracture and concussion injury” arising from that disgusting, late hit by Kerry’s Ronan Shanahan the last night means that a player bedevilled with serious injury is once more consigned to the sidelines.
The Mayo News (paper and digital variants) reports this morning that Evan is likely to be out for eight weeks, which means he’ll take no further part in the current League campaign. In all probability, it’s unlikely that the Stephenites man will feature much, if at all, for us for the remainder of the year.
It’s desperately sad for the player himself and there’s a cruel irony in the fact that the last time he suffered serious damage on the pitch was also against Kerry. That time, three years ago, Johnny Buckley came steaming in recklessly, like Shanahan going for man instead of ball, and Evan was lucky only to have ended up with a smashed collarbone on that occasion.
That Mayo News piece also confirms that Evan is due to undergo surgery today. All that can be done is to wish him well and hope that he recovers fully and speedily.
Lee Keegan is in the papers today (Irish Independent, Irish Examiner) and he doesn’t hold back in calling out Shanahan’s hit for what it was. It’s no harm that he did so: can you imagine the howls of reaction if a Dublin player had suffered something similar up in Omagh the same night?
Ultimately, though, as I said last night, the main person – aside from that thug Shanahan – I have a problem with in relation to this incident is the ref. Derek O’Mahoney failed to curb Kerry’s thuggish excesses early on and they, quite logically, took this as carte blanche to do whatever they wanted.
So Aidan O’Shea was pulled and dragged all evening with impunity, including at the start of the move that led to Kerry’s goal, likewise Jason Doherty every time he tried to make a run. Evan’s injury was the inevitable outcome in a match where a spineless ref had lost all semblance of control.
What should happen, of course, is that this idiot – who failed completely in the player welfare department on Saturday night – is removed from the elite roster. What will happen, though, is that no action at all will be taken. He’ll ref again next week, Shanahan – who was eventually sent off on two yellows on Saturday night so faces no further sanction for the assault – will line out for Kerry again at the weekend and it’ll most likely be 2019 before Evan Regan gets another chance to play for his county.
That, in a nutshell, sums up much of what’s wrong with how Gaelic football is officiated.