“If you were trying to get a step on everybody else, the way to stop you is you’re not allowed back training when everybody else is.”
Former Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice believes that Dublin should have their return to training date delayed after a number of players gathered for an outdoor group session last week.
Photos emerged of Dublin players – including two-time Footballer of the Year Brian Fenton – appearing to take part in a number of drills on Innisfails GAA club pitch.
Fitzmaurice enjoyed some great championship battles with Dublin down the years including the 2015 All-Ireland final as well as the 2013 and 2016 All-Ireland semi-final. Ultimately, all three ended in defeat.
Nevertheless, the 44-year-old did guide Kerry to a coveted Sam Maguire in 2014 – their first since 2009 – and knows better than most about the pressures of inter-county management.
Dublin manager Dessie Farrell was handed a 12-week ban by the Dublin county board with the senior management and players “apologising unreservedly” for taking part in the training session.
However, the five-time All-Ireland winner as a player feels that the punishment should be for the whole team and not just the manager.
“In many ways, he’s taken one for the team,” Fitzmaurice told the Irish Examiner GAA podcast.
“The punishment that I thought would have been more, I don’t say appropriate, but certainly would hurt the group more is when everybody else is back training that they weren’t allowed back training for a week or two.
“That’s the thing that would hurt then, that if you were trying to get a step on everybody else the way to stop you is you’re not allowed back training when everybody else is.
Fitzmaurice is not sure if the GAA would go with that sort of punishment but did admit he had sympathy with Farrell.
“I’m not sure how much the top brass would have an appetite for that or how easy it would be to police it anyway,” he added.
“In a way, I feel sorry for Dessie Farrell. I think it’s going to be a tough 12 weeks for him during that suspension.”
It remains to be seen if the GAA will add further punishment on top of the 12-week ban already given to Farrell by his own county board.