Friday 21 October 2016

Peter Canavan: I never witnessed the sledging like last week - referees have a responsibility to intervene

Peter Canavan

Published 22/05/2015 | 12:42

Donegal's Christy Toye is tackled by Colm Cavanagh and Mattie Donnelly in Ballybofey
Donegal's Christy Toye is tackled by Colm Cavanagh and Mattie Donnelly in Ballybofey

In his exclusive column in tomorrow’s Irish Independent, Peter Canavan says that the issue of sledging has become one of the most pressing topics currently facing the game.

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“In last week’s Donegal-Tyrone game, there were so many positives,” writes Canavan. “And yet, most of the discussion afterwards was about sledging. It was justified because I never saw a match with so much of it going on.”

Canavan also believes referees need to be far more proactive than they currently are on the issue. 

“I was on radio on Monday evening,” said Canavan. “The show played a previously recorded interview with the referee Maurice Deegan, who said that unless a ref is within earshot of sledging, there is nothing he can do about it.

“That is totally incorrect. A good referee can read a situation. He can make a statement that acts as a loud deterrent to everyone else. When the referee knows something is going on, as everybody could clearly see there was last Sunday, it is his responsibility to intervene.

In one game towards the end of my career, a defender was constantly in my ear, hammering away at my head like a woodpecker attacking the bark of a tree. Pat McEnaney was 40 yards away but he could read the malicious intent in my opponent’s body language. He didn’t need to hear what was being said and he dealt with it quickly by issuing a yellow card.

“At the time, he had no legislation to support his intuition but there is a rule there now and it’s up to referees to use it. With all the sledging and mouthing last Sunday, don’t tell me that the two linesmen and four umpires didn’t hear what the ref couldn’t. One black card early on would have stemmed a lot of the poisonous bile flowing around the pitch like a river.”

Read the full column in the Irish Independent tomorrow

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