GAA director general Páraic Duffy has criticised the Dublin and Armagh senior football management teams for their silence over a brawl which left one player hospitalised.

In his 2015 annual report, released today, Duffy made reference to a fracas during a challenge game between the two counties in Dublin last summer.

Dublin’s Davy Byrne was taken to hospital with facial injuries after an incident involving several players, but when the Central Competitions Control Committee attempted to investigate the incident and discover just what happened, they were met with a wall of silence from both counties.

Duffy wrote: "One of the most disappointing events of the past year arose from incidents in an Armagh v Dublin challenge match in early July.

"Dublin footballer Davy Byrne received nasty facial injuries, an incident which, it would appear, led to a brawl involving a number of players, and which led also to Davy Byrne being hospitalised. 

"The efforts of CCCC to investigate the matter followed an all too depressing pattern. Even though the name of the player alleged to have been responsible for Davy Byrne’s injury was in general circulation, no assistance was forthcoming from the counties in bringing the player to account.

"When the injured player, along with officials from both counties who were present at the game, attended a CCCC meeting called to investigate the incidents prior to throw-in at the game, nobody could (or would) provide any information that would have allowed appropriate disciplinary action to be taken.

Duffy believes that there is a misguided code of silence which prevents players and management from speaking out or giving evidence against other players and warned that such an approach was damaging to the GAA.

"Given the unwillingness of either county to co-operate in identifying any of the guilty parties, the only option available to the CCCC was the proposal of a fine, a penalty that was subsequently imposed at a hearing."

“We have all witnessed how elite professional sport has lost much of its integrity through a loss of genuine sporting values. Codes of silence and cover-ups reminds us that Gaelic games are not immune to such damage.”