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'Racism isn't the issue but trash talking needs to end' - Paraic Duffy

The GAA Director General gave his views on the recent incident in Portlaoise on iTalkSport yesterday.

Duffy speaking on iTalkSport yesterday.
Duffy speaking on iTalkSport yesterday.
Image: YouTube Screengrab

GAA DIRECTOR GENERAL Paraic Duffy believes that the association does not have a problem with racism or sectarianism but says that “trash talking” must be clamped down on.

The issue raised its ugly head last week when Armagh captain Ciaran McKeever claimed that he had been the victim of racial abuse during the recent AFL game with Laois at O’Moore Park.

The statement was later retracted by the Orchard County after discussions between all parties were held and speaking on Setanta’s iTalkSport on Sunday, Duffy revealed that, in his opinion, “sledging” needs to be eradicated.

“Most of our games are played in very good spirits but I do accept that in recent times we’ve had incidents that have reflected badly on us, including what happened last week in Portlaoise,” Duffy said.

It’s an incident that shouldn’t have happened and it’s one that we have to address. I don’t think racism or sectarianism is an issue in our game but there is an issue around trash talking and sledging and that is one which we need to talk about.”

Armagh’s county board backed down from their original stance and on Thursday released a joint statement with Laois which admitted that while “inappropriate verbal exchanges” took place between players, their initial claims were inaccurate. The case will be examined again by the Central Competitions Control Committee and on the development, Duffy added:

“I think when Armagh looked at the statement from Laois’ perspective, they realised that it could be interpreted in a way that they didn’t actually intend. When they looked at it they realised that the statement perhaps wasn’t worded as well as it might have been to reflect the incident.”

Armagh selector Paul Grimley, who was facing a ban of at least 16 weeks for allegedly physically threatening a match official, has been instead handed a four-week ban for verbal abuse.

Reports in the media over the weekend suggested that the GAA may have decided against sanctioning McKeever for his sending off during the game in question in return for the Armagh county board’s retraction of the claims, which Duffy vehemently denied.

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