Sunday 25 September 2016

Parents voice frustration as rugby match abandoned because of IRFU ban on protective eye gear

Sarah-Jane Murphy

Published 09/11/2015 | 18:17

For health and safety reasons the IRFU doesn't permit the wearing of eye-wear of any kind during play
(stock photo)
For health and safety reasons the IRFU doesn't permit the wearing of eye-wear of any kind during play (stock photo)

The coach of a rugby team has told how a rugby match had to be abandoned as the referee wouldn't allow two of his team members to wear their protective sports goggles on the pitch.

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James Gormley, under-13's coach of Portarlington Rugby Club in Laois, was told that it was against the rules for players to wear the protective eye-gear during play.

"Prior to our league game against Kildare RFC the referee was conducting an inspection of the players.

"He told us that two of the boys would have to remove their protective eye-wear as it is against the rules to wear it during play," he told RTE's Liveline host Joe Duffy.

The sports goggles in question had been prescribed by an optician and they met with the requisite European standard for such items.

They are permitted to be worn by players of tennis, basketball and GAA during competitive games.

"The referee explained that it's in the IRFU rule book that these protective goggles can't be worn.

"I went over to talk to the players and they decided we would forfeit the game and give Kildare the points as we couldn't take the chance of allowing the two lads to play without their goggles," Gormley said.

Michael Moore, father of Sean Moore, one of the players wearing protective goggles, said that his son was upset by the incident.

"Sean is a big lad for his age, he's bulky and rugby is a game that suits him.

"Last year he played at under-12 level and as there's no formal competition for that age group he was allowed to wear his goggles.

"I feel it's unfair that they had to give away the game due to an objection being made towards him and the other boy," Moore said.

Carmel, who's son Eoin also relies on sports goggles to enable him to play rugby said it was a shame the game didn't go ahead. 

"The boys were eager to get started and and to win the match.

"Eoin has been wearing protective goggles since he began playing rugby aged seven.

"We need to know where we stand now with the IRFU regarding the issue," she said.

Host Joe Duffy read out an extract from a statement from IRFU Communications spokesman, Stephen McNamara.

"For health and safety reasons the IRFU doesn't permit the wearing of eye-wear of any kind during play," it read.

"But surely it's an issue of health and safety if these people who needs help with their vision have to go without goggles" Duffy exclaimed.

"I just don't understand how protective goggles can potentially injure another player," he said.

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