Striking out for a review of rule book
I’M not going to get into the Austin Gleeson affair again but I have to re-iterate the point that it’s very, very harsh on Conor Gleeson to miss out on an All-Ireland for a very minor stand-alone incident involving Patrick Horgan in the semi-final against Cork.
It really puts a spotlight on the role of the referee – and the linesman.
James Owens took almost all of the flak, even though as referee he didn’t witness the incident.
I saw it happening in real time out of the corner of my eye. Patrick Horgan gave a little jab to Gleeson who gave him a little flick of the hurley in response. By the rulebook, it is ‘striking or attempting to strike’.
To me, linesman James McGrath, who was standing beside it, had no business in calling back the referee. He informed Owens of striking by number nine (Gleeson) and striking by number 14 (Horgan).
If you applied those rules to all incidents on the field, you’d hardly have anyone left. Other, far worse, challenges went on during the game which didn’t merit more than a free or yellow card.
It’s important to say then, under the rules, it’s clear cut. My issue is with James McGrath. There is no need to identify the players in that instance.
Is the rule book wrong? Yes. It should be a yellow card for minor incidents, for such a minor strike like that.
Patrick Horgan, too, didn’t deserve to walk. The whole thing was completely in the wrong. Let’s be clear: the dirty stroke in hurling, I hate that.
Without panicking about it, we do need to look at the rules and make the necessary change.
RED: Ref Owens