Friday 24 March 2017

Cooney reveals refs in 'final whistle' storm will not be called to task

Cliona Foley

Cliona Foley

REFEREES who mis-applied the experimental rules in two high-profile cases last weekend will not be called to task, according to GAA president Christy Cooney.

"Our referees are all well versed and well educated on the rules -- it was human error, nothing else," said Cooney, who stressed that the referees' committee, headed up by Michael Curley, would be left to deal with the issue.

"These things happen in a change of rules," Cooney added. "We regret that it happened and would prefer that it didn't, but life isn't perfect. People make errors at times."

Even though the referee admitted that he mis-applied the new 'final-whistle rule' (the ball must now be dead before the whistle can be blown) in the NFL Division 4 match between Longford and Limerick last Saturday, the Central Competitions Control Committee upheld the result when they met on Monday.

Longford lodged a formal appeal to the Central Appeals Committee yesterday and Louth are expected to similarly contest their O'Byrne Cup final defeat by DCU by citing another case of a premature final whistle.

Elsewhere, Cooney condemned the unsightly incidents that marred the All-Ireland club semi-final in Limerick last Sunday.

The referee needed security both at half and full-time and Cooney said the Portlaoise club deserved credit for publicly disassociating themselves from the abusive behaviour, adding that there is an onus on clubs to identify all people who abuse referees, whether players or supporters.

"They (clubs) have a responsibility of leadership to stand up and be counted and to condemn what happens and identify people if they're requested to do so," he said.

"If spectators behave exceptionally badly and there's a justification for a course of action being taken against them, the club should support that."

Irish Independent

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