By Peter Nolan
President Monty Maloney announced his decision in the Westmeath-Kilkenny “farce,” as he himself termed it, at Thursday night’s New York GAA meeting.
At a somewhat raucous meeting, Maloney awarded the two points to Westmeath, who had been winning by 0-12 with just over three minutes to play in their June 2 senior hurling contest. In that game, Kilkenny substitute Mark Kennedy and Westmeath’s New York county man Paddy Barry got into a brawl that escalated to include many of members of each team as referee Dave Simms attempted to quell the disturbance. Simms then suddenly stopped, threw his hands up, and stormed off the pitch. The reason for Simms’s departure was at the time believed to have stemmed from apparent verbal abuse from the Westmeath sideline.
Maloney told the assembled delegates that he had made the call himself, eschewing the board of officers meeting he had previously called for.
He arrived at this decision, Maloney said, after speaking to many of the people involved, including a lengthy conversation with Simms. Maloney also relied on his own experiences as longtime hurler and he regaled the delegates present with a long catalog of injuries he had suffered on the pitch.
Maloney was critical of referee Simms’s performance on the day, feeling he “had lost control of the match,” despite being a good referee in general. Most of the blame in Maloney’s view was on Kilkenny’s Kennedy, who, Maloney said, was “involved in three incidents in 10 minutes and I don’t know how he stayed on the field.” Kennedy was suspended for three games for punching and striking with the hurl. Westmeath’s New York star, Paddy Barry, received a one-game ban for retaliating with his hurl.
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Maloney choose not to discipline any member of the Westmeath sideline because in his conversation with referee Simms, Simms said that the abuse wasn’t that bad. Maloney said he also felt that the referee in that game or any other could eject anyone from the line if necessary and he would be backed by the president.
In other news, Rockland’s Jimmy O’Flynn picked up a two-game ban for kicking a Sligo player during a recent Sligo victory.