"The pictures making out it was an elbow are a disgrace on John Small and his reputation as a footballer."
Colm Parkinson and Ger Brennan feel that John Small has been done a dis-service by the images that have done the rounds since his Croke Park collision with Eoghan McLaughlin.
The images in question show Small's elbow rising to meet McLaughlin's jaw but as Brennan and Parkinson point out on the GAA Hour, Small's elbow was by his side when the contact was made only to rise afterwards with the momentum of his follow through. Indeed, while the tackle was mis-timed, while it was dangerous and red-card-worthy, re-watching the collision will tell you that the intentions weren't as malicious as some of the screenshots would have you believe. At no point, let's not forget, did Small's elbow connect with McLaughlin's face. So, reckless? Yes. Malicious? Hardly.
"We'll all agree this wasn't an elbow," began Parkinson.
"There's too many screenshots going around. When John Small hit him, he hit him with his elbow tucked down into his ribs. He hit him, Eoghan McLaughlin fell down and his elbow came up after."
"There are some pictures doing the rounds that are making out that the elbow was out before the hit and it's a disgrace. It's a disgrace on John Small and his reputation as a footballer."
Eoghan Mc Laughlin undergoes an operation for a double jaw fracture today.
Hopefully he has a speedy recovery 🙏🏻 pic.twitter.com/Wyn6cqtNcf
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) August 15, 2021
"John Small went into hurt Eoghan McLaughlin," continued the Laois man.
"He went into rattle him and if Eoghan McLaughlin had to leave the field because of that, I've no doubt John Small would be happy with that outcome. The pass from Hession had a little bit too much hang-time and Small went into nail him. There is no way he went into break his jaw. I would not accept that. But the fact of the matter is, Small didn't time it right."
Ger Brennan agreed with Parkinson, suggesting that while Small did go into hurt McLaughlin, he didn't go into injure him.
"Some of the still-shots going around and being used by reputable newspapers and journalists, I think it's disgraceful. When you hit a guy with a shoulder, it's by natural momentum that the ball comes through. That's just physics, it's the way the body moves.
“Did John Small go in to absolutely nail him, and leave a bit on him? Absolutely. "Did he want to break a guy's jaw? Absolutely not.”
“Did John Small go in to absolutely nail him, and leave a bit on him? Absolutely.
"Did he want to break a guy's jaw? Absolutely not.”
Ger Brennan breaks down the John Small tackle on Eoghan McLaughlin. pic.twitter.com/fBeobWwEA4
— The GAA Hour (@TheGAAHour) August 16, 2021
Whether it's okay for players to tackle with the intention of hurting is up to you but having watched Lee Keegan nail John Small in extra-time, there's no denying that, at this level, it's part of the game.
Unfortunately, none of this is any good to Eoghan McLaughlin, a double jaw-fracture later and the hope from everyone involved is that his recovery goes as smoothly as possible.
"Your thoughts go out to Eoghan," concluded Parkinson.