Probe after Tipp ref attacked with hurl
Published 19/04/2010 | 05:00
Former inter-county referee Willie Barrett was forced to abandon a club hurling match in Tipperary on Saturday evening after he was struck twice by a 'supporter' wielding a hurl.
Barrett called a halt to the Ballingarry versus Carrick Davin South SHC clash at Kilsheelan 10 minutes into the second half after a man -- who appeared to be a Davin fan -- rushed from the crowd and hit Barrett on the back, before aiming a second blow at him.
The assailant was then engulfed by a number of people before he could continue his attack, as the Ardfinnan official was protected by a player and linesman Keith O'Brien.
Gardai are investigating the incident and are understood to have spoken to members of the Carrick Davin club yesterday.
It is understood that the assailant struck Barrett with the edge of the hurl and connected cleanly, leaving a gash and bruising which required ice treatment on Saturday night so that the referee could sleep.
Barrett, who reported some discomfort yesterday, also received a blow to his wrist as he attempted to defend himself with his hand from the second blow.
Bizarrely, he had just awarded a free to Carrick Davin when the man ran onto the pitch and launched his attack.
Barrett is well known on the national refereeing circuit, having taken charge of a number of top championship games during an illustrious career with the whistle.
He was the man in the middle for the controversial 1998 Munster hurling final replay between Clare and Waterford, when the fallout led to Clare midfielder Colin Lynch receiving a controversial three-month ban.
The attack on Barrett is the second example of violence against a Tipperary club referee in the space of just six months.
Last October, Premier County disciplinary chiefs acted swiftly and dished out heavy suspensions to members of the Carrick Swan club, the town rivals of Carrick Davin, following an attack on John Kelly.
The referee on that occasion also abandoned his game, a county JFC semi-final between Carrick Swan and Shannon Rovers.
Kelly called a halt just before half-time as he feared for his own personal safety, as well as that of his officials.
Tipperary board disciplinary chiefs will launch an immediate investigation.