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'Maybe there’s an objective to sanitise the game of Gaelic football' - Dublin boss hits out at Fitzsimons ban

Jim Gavin described the decision to ban the defender as ‘bizarre’.

Mick Fitzsimons was sent-off for Dublin against Mayo.
Mick Fitzsimons was sent-off for Dublin against Mayo.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

DUBLIN BOSS JIM Gavin has described as ‘bizarre’ the decision by the GAA’s Central Hearings Committee last Thursday to uphold the one-match ban handed out to Michael Fitzsimons after his sending-off against Mayo last month.

The Cuala defender was shown a red card in injury-time of the game in Castlebar after a challenge on Aidan O’Shea.

Fitzsimons was unsuccessful when taking his case to the CHC as they found the infraction proven and was forced as a result to sit out yesterday’s clash with Kerry in Croke Park.

Gavin did not rule out Dublin taking the case to the Central Appeals Committee and questioned whether there is a desire ‘to sanitise the game of Gaelic football’.

“Surprised is probably an understatement. We were here on Thursday night at the Central Hearings Committee meeting and we had to demonstrate conclusive evidence that his foul wasn’t a Category III offence – dangerous play – and we’d footage from eir Sports, great footage, to show conclusively that it wasn’t dangerous play.

“It was deemed that we didn’t conclusively demonstrate that, which for those of us who played the game and coach the game and understand that if a player is leaning in to take a shot and all the indicators are that he is going to shoot, then you commit yourself to the block.

Jim Gavin Dublin boss Jim Gavin. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“It was a great offload by Aidan O’Shea at the last moment and Michael was committed with momentum to the block. At the time I thought it was a free out for the over-carry but that aside, it’s a minor point.

“Aidan O’Shea’s great off his left foot and he needs to be blocked and Michael commits the block and there’s a minimum contact and no reaction from the Mayo players.

“Aidan gets up and plays on and it’s deemed that there was a Category III offence, which I believe is bizarre. Maybe there’s an objective to sanitise the game of Gaelic football and I look at the hurling fraternity and they’ve kept the physicality in their game and it’s a great sport because of it so we just need to be mindful of that.

“It’s a consideration (to take it to the CAC), yeah. It is. We’ve just got a report back, official correspondence to the county board, and the officers showed me that it wasn’t accepted. It was bizarre.

“James McCarthy took a big hit in the opening of the second half and he got up, no drama. You want physicality in the game and if a player commits to the tackle, times it – if you want to keep that in our games.

“Even there tonight, some great challenges there, committing to the ball, that’s first and foremost. It’s important that we keep that in the game; that’s what makes it so attractive and for the players it makes it attractive for them to play.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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