Cork take on Waterford this afternoon in the All-Ireland Hurling Championship semi-final, with place in the decider against Galway on the line. Much of the build-up to the game has been overshadowed by the Tadhg de Búrca saga. The Déise sweeper was shown a red card in the quarter-final against Wexford three weeks ago, for pulling the faceguard of Harry Kehoe.
However, many have jumped to his defence, suggesting that it was not intentional, and stating that such instances are merely part of the game.
Despite Waterford going through the entire appeals procedure, they were unable to overturn the decision.
Speaking to RTÉ, Joe Brolly gave his two cents on the issue, and blasted the GAA disciplinary system for the entire affair.
“One of the issues with the GAA rulebook is this idea – which is actually nonsensical – that the referee’s report is sacrosanct unless there is compelling evidence to contradict it. And this leads to all sorts of problems.
“I think you’d have to say that his opponent has to shoulder some responsibility for what happened because he made a meal of it with the linesman. Which is disappointing given the traditions of hurling.
“The most that the linesman can say is that there was contact. He can’t say if it was deliberate or not. But the offence is ‘deliberate contact’ so what’s in the referee’s report is ‘deliberate contact.’
“But what the tribunal has to look at, and what any fair-minded person will look at, is ‘was this deliberate?’ And of course the answer to that is no.”
Brolly went on to make the point that this is far from a one-off incident, but often the issue can be resolved if there is a case to be made and the right people are fighting it.
“The system is in complete disrepute. Because it is just not fit for purpose. And the only part of it that normally works is the DRA because you’ve got a lot of really classy lawyers, clever people. I just don’t know what happened in the De Búrca case.”
With the issue now consigned to history, Waterford will take to the field this afternoon without Tadhg de Búrca, as they look to reach their first final since 2008.
Make sure to check out our big-game preview on The 16th Man podcast (starting at 31:50):