Louth pensioner’s case against GAA brings goal line technology into focus

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Thursday, October 18th, 2012
The story of Louth pensioner Paddy Garvey’s decision to bring High Court proceedings over the allowing of a Meath goal by Joe Sheridan that was clearly threw and into the net against Louth in the Leinster football final of 2010 got me thinking about the possibility of introducing goal line technology to Gaelic games. Mr Garvey (75) issued a summons under Section 51 of the District Court rules to get the GAA President to come before the court and answer for the decision to award Meath the Leinster title. This is the second attempt the pensioner has made to bring the GAA President in front of the court after the original summons was struck out in July 2011. We will find out next week if this latest attempt is successful or not after he sought leave from the High Court to have Judge Lindsay’s decision judicially reviewed. He claims Judge Lindsay failed to give reasons why his case was being dismissed and was obliged to do so. The referee that day was Tyrone man Martin Sludden who required a Garda escort off the field of play after being disgracefully attacked by furious Louth fans. I think if we had goal line technology in place then this could have been averted. The onus is on us as an association to lead from the front and introduce this technology. A proposed trial to introduce the ‘Hawk-Eye’ technology this year has been put on hold until the GAA are convinced that it holds up to variable wind conditions, however they hope to have the technology ready to use in June 2013. I have been speaking to a GAA pundit and broadcaster about this who is ardently against the idea. He suggests that we introduce a second referee. I think this idea is ludicrous. UEFA introduced a referee to stand beside the goal in Europa league games and they too got decisions wrong quite often. While it can be seen as a help to the referee I think it is a waste of time as the referee already has 4 people on the pitch at every game to do that job, his umpires. I spoke with several other Gael’s on Facebook about this who think it should just be left alone and left to the referee to make decisions either rightly or wrongly. That is okay for us punters to say, but if you are an inter-county footballer, spending 4-5 nights a week out of the house, 9-10 months of the year training, sacrificing your social life, then getting cheated out of a provincial or all-Ireland medal by a horrendous refereeing error I think perhaps you wouldn’t feel that it isn’t really a big deal. The technology exists, it is used in other sports. The proposed ‘Hawk-Eye’ technology is most famously used in tennis and it or any similar technology should be embraced by the GAA if we are going to make things more transparent and fair for those players sacrificing so much to entertain us.
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