Search icon


11th Jul 2023

There is only one solution for contact lens conundrum in the GAA

Niall McIntyre

Brought to you by Sure 72 Hour Non-Stop Protection Deodorant

Evan Niland slots the free that, after 25 minutes of play, puts Galway six points up.

Within seconds, Niland throws his arms up to the sky. Henry Shefflin does the same thing, and for good measure, lets out a few roars too. The Galway crowd are booing. John Kiely is talking to his team.

Nickie Quaid has taken his helmet off and all the commotion stems from the fact that he’s gone down on one knee, instigating a stoppage in the play.

Referee James Owens comes into him, what’s going on kind of thing, with the Limerick team doctor is in hot pursuit.

The doc spends 30 seconds in Quaid’s company, and the game resumes.

Nickie Quaid is not the first player to go down, apparently indicating a contact lens problem. In fact, we only had to wait until the very next day to discover that he wouldn’t be the last.

Kilkenny camogie maestro Denise Gaule nails a free, it’s their third point in a row, and they have just whittled Cork’s five point deficit down to two in their All-Ireland quarter final.

Within seconds, she’s throwing her arms out to the sky. Cork goalkeeper Amy Lee has taken her helmet off, she’s pointing to her eye…you get the picture.

“Is that a good bit of game-management,” asks Anna Geary in the commentary box.

Well, is it?

For his part, Limerick manager John Kiely can’t stress strongly enough that it wasn’t, and is dismayed by claims that it was.

“I think it’s absolutely ridiculous that we’re talking about this two days after two All-Ireland semi-finals. It’s utterly laughable, to be quite honest with you. It’s unbelievable,” he told RTÉ at last night’s All-Ireland final press briefing.

“I’m not privy to Nickie’s medical history.

“Can you imagine me going to Nickie, ‘What’s your sight like, Nickie?’ Would you seriously think I’d be doing such a thing like that? Absolutely not.”

The contact lens may well have slipped on either Quaid or Lee, or both, but if you’re of sceptical nature you’d have to ask why do they generally only slip on goalies? Do they have worse opticians or something?

It’s hardly because they’re the only ones who, under the current rule-book, the game can’t start without.

The topic of the tactical break in play came up for discussion on this Monday’s GAA Hour Show, with Antrim hurler Neil McManus suggesting a solution for referees, and a change in the rule-book.

“What can the referee do to say ‘you’re holding up the game deliberately without any cause to do so, so now you’re not pucking out the ball!’

“I think we need to give the referee some tool in that situation, if it’s being held up without cause. Support the referee, and let him make the call that he does throw the ball in, right in front of the net of the offending team.

“Would booking Nickie Quaid have done anything? No it would have just took up more time. Different for an outfield player because he’s under pressure then with tackling. Hey, maybe book the player and throw it in.

“Can he get two men on the 20 yard line at that stage, I would loved to have seen it, get two men on the 20 yard line, I’m throwing it in, let’s see what happens. That would have really added to the atmosphere.”

“I remember at one stage, during one of our championship games this year,” McManus says, “the full back went down on one knee, took the helmet off, and the referee was coming in, and I just shouted out at him ‘he’s just wasting time!’

“And the referee just turned around, blew the whistle and said get the puck-out out.

Admittedly, it’s hard for a referee to tell if a player is genuine or not. But giving them the throw-in option, and leaving it to their greater judgement certainly seems to be the only way out…

Related links:

WATCH: Liverpool BOTTLED the title race 🤬 | Who will win the Premier League?