Tommy Lyons. What can I say about Tommy Lyons? Not a lot, except that his 'best before' date is usually about one and half years after taking over a football team. By that time the relationship between Tommy and the team has usually decayed and is no longer healthy.
His comments about the suspensions dished out to Dublin and Meath, however, merit some attention. Lyons believes the GAA were very heavy handed. Rightly, so I believe (before you holler in protest I'm from Meath so there's no bias in my opinion)--it's time to stamp out violence in GAA, in whatever form it manifests--tussle, scuffle, shemozzle or brawl-- once and for all.
Lyons reckons the only reason why the Association reacted so forcefully was because of the prominence the incident received on RTE. "I've always said make the six o'clock news in the GAA and you have a problem," Lyons stated. "Whether it's Semple-gate or Parnell-gate or whatever other gate you want. Make the six o'clock news and you are in trouble and it's as simple as that".
Tommy's definitely on to something. Dublin and Meath were made an example of, although Armagh and Cork players had a tussle of their own that went unpunished. Same day, same competition, same sport, pretty much the same incident. But, not the same penalties dished out. Apparently, a Dublin supporter made his displeasure with this injustice clear to Nicky Brennan in Parc Tailteann last Saturday, with a banner which showed the two incidents in a photographic montage and posed the question -- "Spot the Difference?"
Tackling discipline in the GAA cannot just be a-seen-to-be-taking-action show for the national media because the cameras were turned on. It's got to be consistent and across the board--intercounty, club, junior, underage, wherever it rears its ugly head. There are enough officials -- one referee, two linesmen, and four umpires--to capture the majority of what occurs on and off the ball to make it possible.