GAA PRESIDENT LIAM O’Neill has stated he has no problem with referees utilizing the big screen in Croke Park to watch replays of incidents when making judgements in inter-county matches in the wake of last Sunday’s controversy over Eoghan O’Gara’s second-half point for Dublin in the Leinster final.
O’Neill, speaking in Castlebar yesterday at the launch of the All-Ireland series of this year’s senior football championships, praised the conduct of referee Marty Duffy and linesman Maurice Deegan in addressing the notable scoring incident and reiterated the GAA stance that the decision was taken because Deegan saw the score in real time as opposed to the replay on the big screen.
When asked would the GAA be uncomfortable in officials using the big screen O’Neill replied, “Doing the right thing would never make me feel uncomfortable. I think you have to be brave enough to do the right thing and as long as you do the right thing that is what we are here for. Everyone wants to see if someone gets a score that they are entitled to it. That’s basic, if its wide everyone wants to see it wide.
“Marty was in charge of the match and he was fortunate to have great officials and a great linesman in Maurice Deegan. Maurice clearly had a better angle, he informed the referee and that informed the referee’s decision. That was common sense in action, a bit of courage by the officials all round. We talk about team work when making decisions all the time and that was a great example of team work.”
O’Neill admitted that it is unlikely that the score detection system Hawkeye will be used in inter-county championship matches this summer and is adamant that the GAA will not be rushed into using it.
“We will not be pushed on any deadline for Hawkeye until we know that it is 100% right and when the decisions can be conveyed to the referee in time for him for the game not to have moved on. That is the significant thing. It seems the space in Croke Park and the length of time it takes to get back is taking slightly longer at the moment because of the speed of our ball and the vastness of the space that is taken up by the pitch.
“We all know that Hawkeye works but it works in a confined space. The difficulty now is that it has to work in the size of our stadia to convey that information as quickly as it does for cricket or tennis. And we are not going to be pressurised into that, when it is right we will do it. But we want to do it if it is the right thing to do but we do not want to do it until we are 100 per cent certain that the technology complements our decision making.”