It’s happened again.
When Galway and Armagh commenced to batter the heads off each other on live television earlier this year at the end of their match in Croke Park I wrote something to the effect that I was embarrassed to be a GAA man.
It is now reported widely in the media, and a video has been circulating on social media sites including Twitter, that a referee at an underage football game in Roscommon was assaulted shortly after the start of the second half of the U17 game.
The alleged assault was carried out by a mentor for one of the teams and involved an alleged headbutt on the referee causing him to be taken away in an ambulance.
This sort of cowardly, boorish, neanderthal, primitive behaviour cannot be tolerated in the GAA, or any sport for that matter. But the GAA, I regret to say, appears to have a greater problem than other sporting bodies with violence being visited on opponents or officials.
Maybe it’s because there is more of us involved in the GAA with more games and more opportunities for things to go wrong. I don’t know.
I do know It is not good enough, however.
There is too much at stake, and far too many decent people involved in the GAA to have their organisation and their collective reputation dragged through the gutter by this type of behaviour.
If a cowardly individual did indeed assault the referee, then the GAA has a job to do, without fear or favour and strong, effective action needs to be taken.
And An Garda Siochana have a role to play, too. Because if this alleged incident happened on the main street in Enfield at the weekend, or any other street up and down the country, the Gardai would have to be involved.
This is no different.