Flannery- Palisson Incident

What happened in Paris? Was the Jerry Flannery incident as bad as we thought it was?

Paris 1996 – Paris 2010: Spot the Difference

Déjà vu all over again. We remember the videos so well. The thuggish Limerick front rows exposed in their true colours in the city of culture. You have disgraced yourselves again.

Parc des Princes, February 1996. Peter Clohessy dances on the head of Olivier Roumat and the English referee Mr Morrisson misses it. Ireland got walloped 45-10 and now we will never ever manage to win at the Parc des Princes. France moved to the Stade in 1998. The similarities with Stade de France in February 2010 are uncanny.

The Claw ‘escaped’ with a mere 26 week ban though many in the old school Irish rugby establishment thought he should have been banned for life. The general feeling was that his international career was over although he had to have six good years at the top afterwards. Clohessy was just a month short of 30 at the time and Flannery was 31 last October. A long ban could well terminate his international career in advance of the 2011 World Cup.

Back in 1996 Olivier Roumat was so dazed that he could not remember much of the incident and said he didn’t even know whether it was an Irish or French boot that got him. Other French players were more certain and muttered darkly about an eye-gouging of the same Roumat, which he also couldn’t remember although the photographic evidence was pretty graphic. Califano had a few teeth smashed up and Pelous and Gonzalez were also allegedly assaulted. Rugby was slightly more gentlemanly in those days (off the park) but the general chatter was that Claw had been attending to a lot of ‘business’ on Ireland’s last visit to Parc des Princes.

The short video from Saturday’s game repeated again and again over the past 24 hours certainly doesn’t look good for Flannery. The shot shows him approaching Alexis Palisson who has the ball in his hand and then hacking Palisson savagely to the ground making a connection just below the knee. Then he jumps on top of Palisson as the ball runs loose and only for the ref blowing his whistle you would fear that a coup de grace was about to be administered to the prostrated Alexis. The English referee Mr Barnes just like his predecessor in 1996, had not seen the incident and was giving Ireland a penalty until the touch judge drew his attention to Flannery’s assault. However the touch judge doesn’t seem to have seen the incident properly either and suggested that Flannery had shoulder charged Palisson. Clearly the truth was too awful to contemplate. The reaction around the world to Flannery’s crime has been severe. One typical comment was

This guy has been involved in many violent ‘incidents’ in the past… He is a DISGRACE to the game of Rugby !!!He should be cited and put away for many months ! The Irish should be ashamed to have this sub-human specimen playing in their team. Not content to be perceived as cheaters the Irish now want to be seen as a bunch of thugs.

Kinder more sober voices said that it was a red card offence and at a minimum a yellow card. As George Hook said this would have earned a red card in the Premiership (he meant FA Premier League) and of course there the ball would not be normally held in the opponent’s hands. Most of us would agree especially having seen the four second clip that has been whizzing around the media and cyberspace over the past 24 hours.

However if you look at a slightly longer clip maybe 10 seconds long you see a somewhat different picture. The ball is loose in a tense match which was very much still in the balance. The French No 10 Trinh Duc impedes an Irish player illegally, possibly Darcy, then David Wallace tries to pick up and fumbles. As he does so Alexis Palisson, France’s No 11, tackles him, probably illegally also as he doesn’t use his hands. The ball runs free, Palisson picks up and Flannery makes contact very quickly after Palisson picks up possibly within a second. There is a reasonable case that Flannery’s intent in deploying his leg was to fly kick the ball away before Palisson picked up. If so, his timing was awful and regardless of intent probably deserved both a yellow card and the penalty reversal. However it does not appear to have been a premeditated assault as suggested by the deceptive short version video clip and does not belong in the same category as Claw’s Roumat Hornpipe of 1996. Also unlike the 1996 incident the referee dealt with the Flannery incident at the time even if many believe he should have taken sterner action.

Despite the many similarities there appears to be one crucial difference between Clohessy in 1996 and Flannery in 2010. That is intent. There is considerable doubt as to whether Flannery intended to kick Palisson. Indeed he probably did not. If there is a suspension therefore and there may not be one at all, it should be a relatively short one, of four weeks or less. Given recent well documented catastrophes the Shannon club in particular could do with some less bad publicity for a change.


Update 17t Feb 2009

Flannery was today given a 6-week ban until the 29th March.  This means he’ll miss the rest of the Six Nations, but will be available to play against Leinster in the Magners League, and against Northampton in the quarter final of the Heineken Cup.

18 replies on “Flannery- Palisson Incident”

Flannery is nothing but a thug and he showed his true colours I hope he gets cited and banned for the rest of the season ruling him out of Internationals and maybe a run from Munster in the HC

Great piece James. However, the Claw had a number of stitches in his head following the above incident – he may have got those from the match programme…..— You live by the sword and you die etc etc. I spoke with All Black legend Andy Earl once. He was coach with Garryowen. They were playing a very physical French side in a friendly in Dooradoyle. The Limerick lads gave them a few clatters. Earls was asked to comment on same and said that you have to do that with the French to put manners on them, otherwise they’ll walk all over you.

Go back to ’94 France v Ireland in Parc des Princes Paris. One Peter Clohessey is kicked the length of the pitch all day. He retired that day bathe in blood and needing many stitches. Was there outrage from the self rightious, was there hell. Complete silence. Fast forward 2 years, Clohessey is accused of dancing on Roumat. If I recall properly he stood on him once, if he wanted to he could have caused Roumat some serious injury. Rugby back then was a far more violent game than today. The indignant either never played or played in the backs and never entered a ruck in their lives. Claw actually received a ban of 26 playing weeks, which did not run during the summer months. Flannery deserved a red card on Saturday and will probably be cited and banned. To refer to him as sub human is a bit rich considering some of the French “players” over the years. Apart from one stamping incidend I’m not aware of Flannerys discipline problem.

Great post, a masterpiece. I stupidly thought that the rules where about the actual facts. You wisely learnt me that only the intent whas to be considered. I suppose that only their cheating can explain why the french won that game. Perhaps you should consider an addendum to the rules saying that against the frenchs only the use of weapons should be forbidden ?

Good piece Mr Carr, you’ll need to steel yourself for this view though, but I can see where you’re coming from. You make a fair point and I agree with you that there was no malice or forethought in what Fla did. Indeed he has a fair good record over the years and whereas he’s a great scrapper, he’s not know for the dirt.

However, I think if his timing is now this far off, then it’s time to move on. I think we saw something similar earlier this season with the Bull, when he trampled on Cian Healy, not understanding where he was on the ground. Neither incident was intentional, but both caused harm.

Fla may have a point in mitigation, in that his timing is of because he hasn’t played much this season but he would need to be very clear about this.

Spot on No 8. The French are involved in as many nefarious activitis as the rest of us. But in fairness they don’t complain. It’s us that does the complaining, about ourselves. Now we’re trying to hang one of the great stalwarst of Irish rugby out to dry – just like the Claw – because of a rush of blood to the head. Rugby is a physical game. A lot of sorting out goes on out there. As said previously, paraphrasing Ricky Hatton; “It’s not a tickling competition.”

Hi guys
I saw this very evil kick from flannery. You know i use to support Ireland but this player has to be cited. When you see french players from Stade Français Dupuy & Attoub, getting 24 weeks and 70 weeks suspensions, it would be a real disgrace if Flannery gets no sanction. Rugby is a hard game, but it has to be never unfair.
At the end of this game, we french all saw Irish players and French player having a nice attitude, they did applause eachother, after a nice fight. That is rugby i wonder. This time, France was better, but no team need to have bad player like Flannery or Attoub.
Regards from France my friends, and apologize for approximative english ;)

No, it’s not a tickling contest – which is why the kick is so bad. There’s “looking after yourself” and then there’s thuggery. Carelessness is no excuse.

The more physical the sport, the more severe the punishment has to be for stepping over the line. The alternative is mayhem. I do not want to watch rugby played by second rate cage fighters.

So big deal….Flannery tries to fly kick a bouncing rugby ball and ends up nearly removing someones leg.
Hes a hooker ffs….not well known for their football skills. Give him four weeks to please the moaners and move on.

Oh! What a loss Donncha and Leamy were! Together with Fla they are the groundhogs! It’s all very nice seeing Cullenns blond head on camera but rarely at bottom of rucks.
Fla was like a man obsessed- seemed on a solo mission of retribution- so much so it was out of sync with the action hence the mistiming. You would have to put this incident into the context of his play in open field to that moment. They seem anxious to make examples of foul play at present. Fla would be lucky to receive a 4 week ban.

In fairness to Jerry Flannery, he’s always the first to the ball, and he’s not afraid to stick his head in where others would hold back.

At the same time, I don’t want to do the partisan Limerick thing. The challenge on Palisson looked very severe. I don’t know what he was thinking.

Some people are saying that Jerry was the only Irish player exhibiting the sort of aggression needed to beat the French. If we had Quinny, Leamy and Donncha there we might have put it up to Mr Bastardo and his friends.

Listen I live in France and I hear the commentators after every Heineken Cup game they loose (or H Cup as they call it here) and the winging and moaning about the refs and their anti French bias would leave you in tears. Gouging is not that serious offense and why do the rosbifs and the rest make such a big deal about it sure it is after all a mans game! As for Jerry Flannery I do think that he could be compared to Paul Scholes in this instance, people say he is either one of the worst tacklers in the game or one of the best dirty players in the game! The instance he hit Pallison he went to grab him because he knew he was late and it seemed he was on the ground to check if he was alright hence the open hand on the guys shoulder,but malice I don’t think so. It seemed to me that he was about to fly kick the ball but he was too slow and Pallison was too fast! All this crap about dirty play is just an aside. The French obviously don’t seem too put out by it but then again why would they be they won!

Stop kidding, watch the action: If Flannery did not make purposely, he is really a short-sighted snail.
Flannery got 6 weeks ban, when Attoub got a 70 weeks ban (Palisson had to leave the game after Flannery kick, but Ferris not). If it’s not an “Anti french bias”, it’s just a f…ing disgrace. End of story & long life to fair game.

Flannery’s challange was so outrageous it couldn’t have been intentional.

Attoub got just a one week ban for the offence and 69 weeks for being French, proper order.

Yep Bock you’re right. But Flannery was already punished and banned for similar acts too. So…
But believe me, i feel ashamed when i see a french player having so bad attitude than Attoub. I think there’s no place for that in a rugby game. I live in Paris, and i support Stade Français, although i think that attoub’s ban is severe but justified. I love this game because even it’s a fight, players use generally to be gentlemen and have mutual respect. Friendly regards for all ;)

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