Ryan Byrne/INPHO Tom Ryan.
# standing ground
'It would have been completely wrong' - GAA boss defends handling of club final saga
Tom Ryan says direct interference with the CCCC’s handling of the controversy would have been ‘the worst thing we could possibly do.’

DIRECTOR-GENERAL TOM Ryan has defended the GAA’s handling of the All-Ireland club football final substitutes saga, insisting it would have been “completely wrong and inappropriate” for Croke Park to have intervened.

Various commentators suggested that top brass should have jumped in and taken a firm line as confusion reigned about what would happen next after the Kilmacud Crokes-Glen debacle.

A replay of the final was eventually ordered by the Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) last Tuesday though it remains to be seen if that game actually takes place as the two clubs find themselves at apparent loggerheads.

GAA President Larry McCarthy refused to field questions on the situation at today’s launch of the association’s annual report and finances document, insisting that “the process is in progress and it will work itself out.”

But Ryan did comment and he said it would have been entirely wrong for top officials to have intervened at any stage, or to have interfered with the workings of the CCCC.

“The worst thing that we could possibly do, and I’ve seen this mentioned in dispatches, this idea that, this term, ‘The GAA’, should step in, that there’s some kind of a deficit there and that the GAA should step in and intervene and direct something,” said Ryan.

“I have never, ever picked up the phone to the chair, or anybody on the CCCC to say, ‘Derek, this is the way I want this to go’. I have never and I will never do that. Any suggestion, implied or explicit, that in some way we should have been directing something, that’s completely wrong and inappropriate.

“To the extent that people don’t get that, that’s okay. It’s a pity [if they don't] but certainly I don’t think it would have added to things terribly much if we were to come out to reinforce the message that you in the media were already communicating very well, that this is how the thing has to play out.

“The safest thing we can do is abide by a process that is tried and trusted and works.”

Ryan railed against the suggestion that given the high profile of the game and the situation, an intervention would have been acceptable.

“No is the answer because to my mind, if you’re playing Junior D football in west Kerry or if you’re an All-Star hurler up at the top of Antrim, it’s the same disciplinary system and people are entitled to having the same rigour applied, irrespective of how good you are or the level that you’re playing at, whether it’s club or county,” he said.

- Originally published at 2.40pm, updated at 5.35pm to appear on TheJournal.

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