O'Rourke blames Armagh for violent scenes

June 28, 2022

Colm O'Rourke. ©INPHO/James Crombie.

Colm O'Rourke has laid the blame for Sunday's All-Ireland SFC quarter-final brawl on the Armagh county board.

The Meath legend described the alleged eye-gouging incident as 'pure thuggery' and said Armagh need to hold their players to account after they were involved in similar rows against Tyrone and Donegal earlier this year. 

"People are trying to use nice words, but for me it was just pure thuggery, and it should be called out as such," O'Rourke told the RTÉ GAA Podcast.

"People shouldn’t be saying teams need to go in different entrances. Soccer and rugby teams walk in beside each other at half-time. Why do they not beat the living daylights out of each other?

"The common denominator unfortunately in this has been Armagh this year. This is the third incident they have been involved in. They were involved in a very big incident a few years ago at U20 level when 10 players were suspended.

"The responsibility for players and discipline falls back on a county board. And if a county board continually appeals the decision by a central body then they’re basically saying to their players, 'you can do what you like and we will back you and try to get you off’."

He continued: "We had the incident with Tyrone earlier in the year where five players were sent off for contributing to a melee. And then when Armagh had the problem with Donegal, they appeal and got their players off.

"The rule of law did not apply, the referees were undermined. You had a Central Hearing Committee undermining the decision of another GAA body. It has brought about a shambolic situation.

"If those suspensions had stuck earlier in the year I’m quite sure we’d have a much better level of discipline. I feel really sorry for the referees in these particular cases, that it’s been brought to this level.

"If they make a decision and send it in, it’s very likely to be overturned, as we have seen in hurling as well."


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