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12th Sep 2021

“Every player will now feel as if they can appeal a decision. It was a clear striking offence” – Jacob calls a spade a spade

Niall McIntyre

It was an un-settling build-up to the All-Ireland senior camogie final for both teams with Cork only finding out in the late hours of Saturday night that Orla Cronin was free to play.

Cork’s centre forward received a red card in the semi-final for striking Grace Walsh but having exhausted every avenue of appeal and though it may have taken longer than they will have wanted, Cork finally got the result they were looking for.

The whole saga hasn’t been without its controversy, however, with Cronin’s great escape showing up a terrible lack of professionalism in the appeals process. That the uncertainty rumbled on until 24 hours before the All-Ireland final is one thing, that Cronin got away on a ‘stay of suspension’ is another. What it basically means is that, regardless of the offence committed, all she had to do was to try every avenue of appeal to be allowed to play.

Galway could well feel aggrieved if they weren’t getting away with one themselves – their centre back Emma Helebert can count herself lucky to be lining out here too, having struck Tipperary’s Eimear Loughman in their semi-final.

Speaking on The Sunday Game, Wexford’s Ursula Jacob called a spade a spade. While Cronin isn’t a dirty player, like many of us watching, Jacob feels it was a clear red card and that it now sets a dangerous precedent for the future.

“It’s probably a massive ruling though because other players will feel as if…it opens up the whole thing going forward because every player will feel as if they can appeal a decision. For me it was a clear striking offence. She’s not dirty, not at all, but you would have to question (why she got away with it,)” said Jacob.

Anna Geary meanwhile, says it will have been an emotionally draining process not just for Cronin, but for both teams and asked why it took so long for the saga to be resolved.

“I’d imagine this has been emotionally draining, not just for Orla but for the entire set-up. One of those other girls has probably been told this morning that she’s not starting an All-Ireland final, even though she probably felt last night that she may have been.

“The DRA is a separate body, they are a legal body. They have no vested interest in it so it is important that nobody feels that Cork managed to turn a few screws behind closed doors,” added Geary.

“The only thing I would say is that the All-Ireland semi-final was two weeks ago, how did the appeal only happen last night? Peter Casey’s suspension was rescinded within days of his All-Ireland semi-final, why did it get to a stage when it happened last night, especially when these hearings take place virtually now?”

Anne-Marie Hayes, meanwhile, says she wasn’t one bit surprised that Cronin got off.

“I don’t think it’s any surprise to anyone in Galway that Paudie Murray has managed to get Orla Cronin off for the All-Ireland final…”

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