GAA

Aidan O'Shea Calls For Crackdown On GAA Violence

Aidan O'Shea Calls For Crackdown On GAA Violence

The weekend saw another moment of violence on a GAA pitch highlighted by video of the incident popping up on social media.

During a game between Ballyholland Harps and RGU Downpatrick, a mass brawl involving players and spectators erupted.

It came days on from violent scenes at a Derry reserve championship game between Slaughtneil and Ballinderry and less than a month after a melee at an intermediate game in Tyrone between Strabane and Stewartstown.

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During the summer, there similar scenes during a U20 game between Tyrone and Armagh.

"It's not a nice advert for our game, having fracas like that or seeing it shared all over social media," Mayo footballer Aidan O'Shea told Balls at a Heinz Sports Club event on Tuesday.

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A few people were complaining that it was being shared but if there's an underlying issue there, we need to crack down on it.

I'm not condemning the teams involved, I don't know the circumstances of what happened.

I just think that we need to be a little bit stronger on some of the discipline. It wouldn't happen in rugby, which some would say is a much more physical sport where there could be more chance of something like that happening.

It seems to be a lot more violent in our game. If we saw it in a soccer match or saw hooliganism outside a soccer match, we'd be complaining about it.

Maybe we need to look internally and enforce the rules a bit better. There needs to be more discipline around that kind of stuff.

O'Shea believes that if serious punishments for being involved in such scenes were imposed, it could help curtail them.

"If our club was playing in a game and something like that happened and we were kicked out of the championship for next year, we wouldn't be getting ourselves into a fracas again.

"It's not our way to do it but it has to start somewhere. Somebody needs to shout stop in this case.

"God forbid that somebody gets hurt and has a life-changing injury. You look at what happened to Sean Cox outside a Liverpool game. His life and his family's lives have been turned upside down.

"If that happened at a GAA club, somebody is going to have guilt on their hands over it because we didn't do anything about these things that are being raised at the moment.

"Somebody needs to do something and stamp it out."

The Heinz Sports Club campaign is all about supporting kids in their pursuit of sport providing free sports gear and equipment to schools and clubs when you collect the tokens on packs of Heinz Beanz. More information on www.heinz.ie/teamz

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PJ Browne
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