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GPA don't expect any disciplinary action against Dublin and Galway for Boston brawl

Sean Potts has played down the row which developed during the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic.

The mass brawl during Sunday's game.
The mass brawl during Sunday's game.
Image: Ray McManus/SPORTSFILE

THE GPA DON’T expect any disciplinary action to result from the row that livened up Sunday’s AIG Fenway Hurling Classic in Boston.

However, they do say that the flash-point shows just how seriously players take the novel Super 11s game and prove that it has a real future as a promotional tool for hurling abroad.

“Rows happen in games at home, at club and inter-county level. They’re not frequent, but they’re a reality of a contact sport,” said Gaelic Players Association spokesman Sean Potts.

When asked did he think that Croke Park’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) would look into the fight that broke out in front of the Dublin goal at the iconic Fenway Park during the second quarter of the weekend game he replied: “I wouldn’t expect that.

“It was dealt with in context, three players were sin-binned and I would expect that to be the end of it.

“This format is useful for trialling new things such as the sin bin, which as used on Sunday.”

Referee Alan Kelly halted the play and referred the incident to the Television Match Official, former Cork player and manager Donal O’Grady.

The incident was replayed repeatedly on the stadium’s big screen, much to the entertainment of the 27,000-plus strong crowd in the ground.

The result was two-minute sin bin punishments for Dublin’s Conor Dooley and Galway pair Iarla Tannian and Andy Smith. In the end the Tribesmen beat the Dubs 50-47 after an exciting contest.

“The reaction here has been interesting and overwhelmingly positive,” said Potts.

“The row was noted in the context of the occasion, but it didn’t overshadow the event and I think that’s because in a city like Boston they’re used to occasional flare-ups in games like ice hockey and baseball.

James Skehill and Eamon Dillon Galway's James Skehill and Eamon Dillon of Dublin go at it. Source: Emily Harney/INPHO

“This is a contest and teams prepare for it as they would an inter-county game at home.

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“Okay, it’s a different format, but players see this as a proper battle and that was reflected in how competitive the game was.

“This was a physical game, as you would expect at inter-county level, and the players were pumped. This was not an exhibition or a friendly, but a competitive game.

“The players realised that they had a chance to showcase our game and they wanted to do that properly by ensuring it was competitive.

“The row shows how intense the players were and that they brought a level of competitiveness to the game.

“The players socialised afterwards and we all moved on.

“What we have read about the game here since has been very positive; the schemozzle was referenced, but they recognised it in the context of the game. In other words it wasn’t the main talking point. They talked about the intensity of the game.”

The match at the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park was a near-sellout, was broadcast live on popular local Boston sports television network NESN and was covered by all of the major newspapers in the area.

The Galway players celebrate after the game Galway celebrate at full-time. Source: Emily Harney/INPHO

Potts pointed out that the row served to show just how seriously the players took this game and that Super 11s has a place within the GAA to help promote hurling abroad.

“The objective of Super 11s is to bring the game to iconic venues like Fenway Park or Notre Dame, as we did two years ago,” he said.

“The concept was devised so that we could play our games abroad and showcase them. It’s like the All Stars trip in that it gives us a chance to bring our games to special locations and include them as part of special events.

“It’s like sevens rugby, Twenty20 cricket or five-a-side soccer – they all endorse the traditional form of their games and lead back to them. They are promotional tools and that’s what we see Super 11s as.”

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About the author:

Peter Sweeney

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