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GAA need to act on U21 brawl.

I HAVE witnessed a nasty element still exits out there in the club scene, but what reportedly occurred in the under-21 clash between Offaly and Kildare on Wednesday was despicable.

According to my sources, by all accounts what occurred was unlike what has happened in other high-profile incidents in recent years. There was alleged head-butting, biting and punching, with players and supporters involved.

Obviously it was a local derby and there's no love lost between Offaly and Kildare.

But what must happen now is that both Croke Park and the Leinster Council must act fast and decisively to send out a statement that any such behaviour is not tolerated.

The match was covered live by TG4 and both county set-ups were also videoing it, so there must be enough footage there to take action.

The book has to be thrown at whoever was involved because it amounted to hooliganism - something we'd have associated with the worst scenes in cross-channel soccer over the years.

We used to look down at those people over there who committed such acts, but it happened in our own backyard this week and there's no place for that in our game.

The managers must be brought in and made part of the process and the respective county boards need to investigate thoroughly.

And at the end of it there must be suspensions to match actions - I'm talking about six or 12 month bans, be it for players or supporters.

Other high profile incidents, including alleged biting, have not reached a conclusion because there has been a reliance on the alleged victims to state their case.

It's time the GAA took that role of judge themselves and take it out of the victims' hands. Croke Park must lend assistance to the Leinster Council in this case to ensure the right outcome is achieved.

For too long things have been brushed under the carpet. Perpetrators must be named and shamed, it's the only way such scenes aren't repeated.


GROUNDS O'Connor Park

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Title Annotation:Sport; Opinion, Columns
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:May 9, 2015
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