Friday 26 May 2017

More violence in Tipp forces Barrett to abandon club match

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Tipperary and Galway officials will begin investigations into brawls that marred club games in both counties over the weekend, one of which forced well-known former referee Willie Barrett to abandon a game for only the second time in his 30-year career.

Barrett was at the centre of a sickening incident in April when he was struck twice with a hurl by a young spectator during a South Tipperary championship match between Carrick Davin and Ballingarry. The game was abandoned. The spectator had links to the Carrick Davin club.

This time round it was a Ballingarry supporter who allegedly struck a Moyle Rovers player after he had committed a foul, prompting a serious melee involving both sets of players and spectators and which lasted for up to five minutes.

There were only 10 minutes of the divisional U-21 semi-final remaining in Fethard and Barrett took the sensible decision to call a halt to proceedings.

It was the third time a GAA match under the control of the South division has had to be abandoned this year.

Inter-county football referee Derek O'Mahony recently brought a junior football match between Newcastle and Ballylooby to a premature end after a fracas developed.

The repetitive nature of these incidents in the same area has prompted feelings that expulsions rather than fines could now be the only course of action left to hard-pressed South Tipperary officials trying to keep control of their games.

At the very least, it could force more grounds that host South divisional games to enclose their pitches. As it stands, there are very few which protect players and officials from encroaching supporters.

In Galway, suspensions and fines are in the pipeline after a melee involving players, mentors and supporters at Tuam Stadium on Sunday evening as champions Corofin salvaged a last-gasp draw in the quarter-finals of the county's senior football championship.

Tomas Costello pointed an injury-time free to secure a replay but the game was marred by a brawl 12 minutes from the end after two players, Caherlistrane's Eric Monahan and Corofin's Kieran McGrath, received straight red cards following an incident on the field.

Players, officials and spectators all became involved in the melee that ensued and it took some minutes before order was restored.

Irish Independent

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