In last week’s Gaelic life we ran a vox pop about Rules and Punishments in the GAA. Due to space restrictions we weren’t able to run comments from Monaghan’s Vinny Corey. But we have made space this week.
This week, Vinny Corey has explained why he thinks the GAA’s disciplinary system has improved over the past ten years since he started playing county football back in 2003
The Monaghan man said:
“I think the system has become a lot more streamlined than it used to be, however, the GAA is still an amateur organisation and therefore open to challenge from professional lawyers.
“There was a stage there a number of years ago where it seemed that no matter what you did on a football field, you could half kill a man right in front of the television camera, but if you had a good lawyer in your corner and a sponsor that would pay the big bucks to go to court, you’d get off with it on a technicality even though you were guilty as hell.
“Unless the language of the reports was precise and all procedures followed to the letter of the law the top barristers would tear it to shreds in court and therefore reduce the whole GAA disciplinary system to farce.
“In fairness the GAA set up the DRA to reduce the amount of cases going to the courts. I don’t think any disciplinary system is fool proof anyway especially in an amateur organisation.”
Corey was only suspended once in his playing career when he got a retrospective ban in 2003 for his involvement in the pushing and shoving after the Ulster u-21 final.
“I got in an altercation with an Ulster council official. I didn’t hear any more about it. That was March/April time. I went on to make my debut for the Monaghan seniors in May when we beat Armagh
“A week or so after that game I was informed that I was banned for two months for club and county for “bringing the game into disrepute” in the U21 game more than a month before that.
“I remember the appeals process was daunting enough. I was 19 or 20 and had to go into a room with maybe 10 Ulster council officials sitting around a table to plead my case.
“I didn’t get much change out of that and had to settle for the punishment. That effectively wiped out most of the summer for me as the ban kicked in from the night of the appeal rather than the date of the U21 game back in April.”
He said he did get a red card rescinded at club level three years ago.
“In fairness the members of the Monaghan CCC present the night of the appeal were all solid football men and applied their own common sense.
“A bit of common sense goes a long way when applying these punishments.”
Corey said that punishments work if they are enforced properly.
He cited the recent trainnig bans issue as one example.
“You only have to look at how hard it was to enforce the recent training ban on county teams.
“It was widely accepted that most counties continued to train despite the ban. However once the GAA imposed a tougher sanction, most counties have since decided its not worth the risk and their county teams have been stood down.
“So it probably is the case that if a certain rule has no sanction or punishment enforced then clubs/counties and players won’t respect the rule.”
He does think that punishments were harsher years ago.
“Nowadays there are one match bans and that whereas years ago I think a month suspension was the most common.”
He added that modern day social media has had an effect upon rules.
“Social media can have a bearing on how lenient the punishment a player receives is. How many times have we seen over the years where incidents happen in games that are highlighted later on that night on the Sunday Game. This puts pressure on the GAA to act on it. Similar incidents could happen but a player receives no punishment because there isn’t the same level of outcry or perhaps there’s not as much to gain from highlighting it.”