John Cuffe has beaten me to it, by posting details of this article in the Irish Independent today where it is stated that we’ve decided against making a formal complaint about the way Donal Vaughan was manhandled by that Cork ape as we “did not want it to be misinterpreted as sour grapes”. The article doesn’t specify what kind of complaint we might have considered making, who we might make it to or on what basis. Likewise, the piece contains no direct quotes from our side and so it’s not clear where the writer, Cliona Foley, is getting her information from.
Having thought about this on and off since Sunday and having lodged my own personal complaint the other day (under, as Liz Hurley might put it, my civilian name) with the national broadcaster about that Derry dickhead’s verbal hatchet job on Donie Vaughan, I think we should make at least two separate complaints in relation to what happened at Croke Park last Sunday. Indeed, I think it would be more than a bit remiss of us if we don’t.
The first is obviously to RTÉ. Joe Brolly tarred both Donie and the entire team as cheaters (contrasting our approach with Cork’s “absolute honour and integrity”) and we simply cannot let a slur of this magnitude stand unchallenged. I’ve repeatedly watched the clip Brolly refers to in his analysis (it starts on the RTÉ Player recording of the programme at 14.40) and you can see clearly that Donie takes three belts before going down so it’s obvious there was little or no feigning involved. But, more importantly, Brolly ignored – or chose to ignore – Cork’s blatant gamesmanship in repeatedly trying to provoke Donie to react in a way that would result in a second yellow and so get him sent off.
Honour and integrity? Downright honesty? As I’ve put it to RTÉ, Brolly is either a knave (in disingenuously ignoring what the Cork lads were up to) or a fool (if he genuinely wasn’t able to see what was happening). Either way, he’s not fit to be on television and at the very least we’re owed a fulsome apology from him and RTÉ for what was said on Sunday night. I’m not sure I’d agree 100% with John Cuffe’s proposal for a boycott on interviews but, you know, Mickey Harte’s one last year sure had the effect of concentrating minds at Montrose.
The second complaint we need to make is one that relates to the standard of refereeing. Once again in a major match in Croke Park we’ve taken it up the rear end from officials and while complaining about it won’t change the result we absolutely have to place on record our dissatisfaction with Maurice Deegan’s performance. That clip that Brolly used not only shows a clear strike by Michael Shields on Donie but it also shows beyond doubt that Maurice Deegan saw it with his own eyes. If you hit someone it’s a straight red yet Shields wasn’t even booked. Then, of course we had the two-man hit on Donie by Pearse O’Neill and Eoin Cadogan (who also, by the way, struck Donie in that earlier incident). And, of course, that was followed by the Baboon O’Leary manhandling Donie when he was close to being out cold on the ground.
What we need to do in relation to this one is get somebody to review the match tape forensically, recording each and every refereeing error and then send this on to Mick Curley or whoever it is within the GAA hierarchy that always denies there’s any problem with refs. We should, of course, have done this after the Meath game in 2009 and the Longford one in 2010 too but that was then and now is now. We have a clear case of the ref failing to apply the rules in several important instances last Sunday (I’d actually go easy on him about the Lee Keegan incident as, important and all as it was, the push in the back was easy to miss) and we simply have to act on it.
None of this should be interpreted as sour grapes or whinging or whatever. None of it will change Sunday’s result, a match where we can all acknowledge we deserved to lose. But if don’t stand up for ourselves – by calling that prick Brolly to account and documenting just how poorly served we were by the match officials on the day – then we’re simply asking for the same treatment to be visited on us in the future. Enough is enough: it’s high time we started to stand up for ourselves on issues of this sort.