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Cusack And Tyrrell Call For Crackdown On 'Worrying' Hurling Incidents

Cusack And Tyrrell Call For Crackdown On 'Worrying' Hurling Incidents
PJ Browne
By PJ Browne
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Jackie Tyrell and Donal Óg Cusack have both called for the GAA to crack down on dangerous challenges to the head in hurling.

"There's no doubt about it, it's worrying to see some of these incidents," Tyrrell told The Sunday Game before three particular moments from this year's championships were highlighted.

"We saw Cillian Kiely in Offaly [vs Kerry], the head was nearly taken off him. I think he failed a HIA after it.

"Ronan Maher [against Cork], he knew exactly what he was doing. It should have been a red card. There have been flashpoints. We also saw earlier in the [Munster] round robin with Seamus Flanagan [against Waterford].

"We have to understand that strength and conditioning has played a huge role in this. Players are never more physical, never more conditioned. They are moving at a quicker pace which means the G-force they are carrying is huge."

Tyrrell, a nine-time All-Ireland winning defender with Kilkenny, admitted that he is complicit in contributing to a "culture" in hurling which has led to dangerous tackles becoming more common.

"I'm not going to sit here with a sugar spoon and say I haven't contributed to the culture of that because I've done that in my day - I've probably done worse things," said Tyrrell.


"I have a role in that. We all kind of do. Maybe not Donal Óg because he played in the goal. Lots of times, I would have liked to do it to him, but I never got down that far.

"It's now at a situation where the GAA need to have a look at it. It is worrying to see these head incidents, and guys getting belts, and concussion. We saw what happened in the rugby world. The GAA need to look at that seriously. The duty is on the player responsible to take accountability for it."


Cusack said hurling referees need to start issuing red cards for such incidents.


"Culture, this is the biggest word there," he said.

"This gets mixed up with this hard man stuff, as if in some way catching someone with a shoulder or an elbow, when you can't see them coming is in some way being a tough man. That's not being a tough man at all, that's taking cheap shots.

"If one of our players can't see his opponent coming, and he connects on his head, it's the duty of the player who is tackling to protect the other player.


"Those incidents we looked at - the three of them - there was no question that they should have been red cards. When the GAA looked at the Seamus Flanagan incident, of course it should have been a red card.

"The danger is that there's a boy, girl, man or woman getting their gear ready tomorrow, and going out onto the field, and going to get a cheap shot in the name of being a tough man or being a tough woman - there's nothing tough about that.

"We need to err on the side of issuing red cards rather than it being the other way. We are on the side of not issuing red cards. Then I guarantee you, those elbows and shoulders to the head, will stop.


"There's very few accidents that happen in top level sport. Those players know how to control their bodies. Of course, there are individual situations, and we get that.

"It should also be said that hurlers are extremely disciplined in the main. There's 30 players out there with what is potentially a lethal weapon in their hand.

"The discipline of hurlers is something we should be proud of, but what we're seeing in those images is not something we should be proud of or something we should be condoning on this show or within the disciplinary committees in Croke Park."


See Also: Donal Óg Cusack Extremely Critical Of GAA And RTÉ Over GAA Go

Donal Og Cusack on Munster hurling championship



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