Mayo GAA secretary Dermot Butler has called for VAR or some sort of video assistance for intercounty GAA referees after a challenge between Dublin's John Small and Mayo Eoghan McLaughlin left the latter with a fractured jaw in the All-Ireland semi-final.
Butler called the challenge 'a terrible tackle' in his annual report, which was issued to the Mayo GAA convention this weekend past.
The McLaughlin-Small collision
The incident happened in the second half of the All-Ireland semi-final this year, where Mayo famously stopped Dublin's quest for a seventh consecutive All-Ireland. McLaughlin was receiving a hand pass, when Dublin's John Small came running from McLaughlin's blindside and shouldered him. Commentators in the moment called a tough, but fair shoulder but upon further inspection you see that McLaughlin was fouled (co-commentator Kevin McStay would recant his comments).
The challenge went unpunished by referee Conor Lane even though McLaughlin received medical attention immediately and was carted off on a stretcher. His doubly broken jaw required surgery to repair. The Westport man would miss the All-Ireland final.
There was widespread criticism of the challenge on social media.
Butler, whose report is quoted extensively in the Irish Independent today, believes that video assistance needs to come in to protect the players. He was critical both of referee Conor Lane and his assistant Maurice Deegan.
How the referee didn’t issue Small with a straight red card is baffling. How his sideline official Maurice Deegan didn’t advise him on the seriousness of the tackle is also beyond belief,
If ever there was an argument for “VAR” to be introduced into the GAA then this was it. Players should be protected from this type of behaviour.
Butler also cited Dublin's "usual arrogance" and said they met "a wake up call like they had never experienced" in the second half of that match.