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Laois’ Denis Booth and Kildare’s Dermot Earley clash during the O’Byrne Cup quarterfinal.

GAA to launch inquiry into mass brawl during game

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Laois’ Denis Booth and Kildare’s Dermot Earley clash during the O’Byrne Cup quarterfinal.

The GAA are to launch an investigation into the brawl that ruined Sunday’s O’Byrne Cup quarterfinal between Kildare and Laois when seven players were red carded in Portlaoise.

A mass brawl before halftime saw five players sent off after Kildare’s Ronan Sweeney was pushed in the back in front of the Laois goal.

Kildare won the game by three points, 0-11 to 0-8, but referee Syl Doyle dominated the headlines after sending four Laois players and three Kildare stars to the line.

Kildare manager Kieran McGeeney slammed those responsible for the row and said, “There is no place for a brawl like that. None. No matter what excuse I or anyone else gives. There is no excuse. It just shouldn’t happen. But I do think it could easily, easily have been stopped.

“I don’t think Laois went out looking for a fight. I don’t think Kildare did either. It’s hard for us though, because we’re not allowed to comment on any decisions made.

“But you wouldn’t have had that had the incident just five seconds before the brawl been taken care off, then it would have been all wiped out.

“That incident should have been dealt with, whichever way the referee saw fit. But to throw the ball up, straight after two people were sort of on the ground, was a complete disaster.”

Meanwhile, Dublin and Meath were set to meet again in Navan on Wednesday night after a late Colin Daly point in extra time rescued a draw for the Dubs in Sunday’s O’Byrne Cup clash at Parnell Park.

Niall Mooney had struck a equalizer for Meath in the fifth minute of added time at the end of normal time but not even the 30 extra minutes could separate the deadly rivals.

Both Dublin boss Pat Gilroy and Meath counterpart Eamonn O’Brien were pleased with the result as they look to rebuild their squads in the forthcoming National League.

“You could see how hard lads from both sides were pushing for places today,” said Dublin captain Paul Griffin.

“Guys were really trying to show what they can do and it all added to what was a fine game of football for this time of year. It will have done both sides good.”

Meath manager O’Brien said, “Everybody gave their best and tried as hard as they possibly could -- that’s all you can expect at this time of year.

“We need to get training into the lads after missing out during the bad weather but having said that, it’s great to get a game like that. It will bring players on a lot.”

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