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Dubs keen to ditch dissent from sidelines

IT'S time to play the music . . . it's time to light the lights. And camogie's top brass don't want any more Statler and Waldorf types spoiling the party.

Officials are becoming increasingly concerned about what they are hearing on the sidelines of Dublin. And they firmly believe that the voices belong to those that should know better.

The hot air has a most unappealing scent. And what's most disturbing is that it's being directed at young players and young referees.

The tone that young people require most of all is encouragement. And now the Dublin Camogie Board want to call a halt to this unsavoury behaviour.

"If you give out to a child, you can put them off (the game) for life. The same goes for a new referee," states Dublin chairperson, Marie O'Brien.

"It's a shame to see what's happening. It shouldn't be tolerated. And it seems to be everywhere these days.

No excuse

"Everyone in the country is doing their best to get children to play sport, and then you have to contend with this type of behaviour on the sidelines.

"Most of the time it's hot air, but that's no excuse.

"Criticising young players and referees is just not on. It is just so damaging."

Marie would like to see camogie, and indeed other sports, go down the rugby route.

"That's one place where I don't see such carry-on. You don't see dissent there. Rugby players just take their punishment and get on with it.

"A player might be sin-binned for some foul or whatever, but they come back after their 10 minutes and that's the end of it."

Referees in rugby command total respect.

"And respect is the key word in all of this. A little respect goes a long way. And if we instil respect and fair-play at our matches, we'll be winning the battle."

A harsh word from a sideline directed at a young person is a cardinal sin of sport. But it happens all the time.

It's very hard to police such a situation, but as the great Maureen Potter always said: "If you haven't anything good to say, save your breath to cool your porridge."

"The whole ethos in life is to get people active. To get them away from their Playstations and the televisions.

"It's all about promoting a healthier lifestyle.

"It's marvellous to see kids out in the fresh air having a bit of fun.

"And sport should be fun," insists Marie.

"Sport should be for life. And creating a happy environment for the children is essential. That should be the message."

At a game some time ago, a small kid made a little error. A man on the sideline roared: "You are a muppet."

There was only one muppet in the park that morning.