Six-month ban given to Sligo official for verbal abuse of fellow ref
A Sligo club referee has been banned for six months for verbally abusing another Sligo referee.
Curry club referee Malachy Maher has been banned for six months for verbally abusing Eugene MacHale as the county board cracks down on abuse of officials.
Maher is the second Sligo referee to be banned for abusing another official in the past 12 months. Drumcliffe Rosses Point whistler Des Henry was banned for two months for verbally abusing an underage referee last year.
And a young Curry player, James Connolly, has been banned for three months for clashing with St Molaise referee MacHale towards the end of the Sligo U-21 championship final between St John's and Curry in Tourlestrane on November 12. MacHale, who won a Connacht senior medal with Mayo in 1985 was said to be "shaken" after the incident.
Maher was hit with the suspension for shouting verbal abuse during the closely contested affair. Maher was a spectator at the match, in which St John's edged out their opponents in extra-time by 1-8 to 0-7.
Curry midfielder Connolly got a straight red card in extra-time for shouldering the referee. It is believed that the official was surrounded by angry Curry players as his umpires came to his aid at the end of the match.
Connolly, it is said, later apologised to the referee.
It is also understood that the referee's way off the pitch was blocked by some Curry players and that the referee was not able to stay for the presentation. Both the referee and the U-21 player now have the option of appealing the decision to the Hearings Committee.
That committee hit the headlines in September after it was found that they erred in overturning a red card ban on St Mary's star Mark Breheny in the absence of video and independent eye-witness evidence.
Sligo County Board admitted the committee got it wrong. Referees in the county threatened to go on strike in anger at the decision to re-instate the Sligo star for the county semi-final.
Meanwhile, the probe into the unruly scenes at the end of the Connacht club SFC final will begin in earnest this evening.
A special committee set up to investigate the disgraceful scenes at the end of the provincial SFC final last Sunday week will meet at the Connacht Council headquarters in Ballyhaunis.
The Connacht Competitions Control Committee met on Friday night and set up the special committee after Mayo referee Liam Devenney was accosted and needed an escort off the field following the final at Kiltoom.