| 8.4°C Dublin

Ref Winter leaves Shels fans cold after his final call

There'll be no award for Richie Winter at the PFAI's annual knees-up at the Burlington on Saturday night. Unless the Association devise a new category, Howler of the Season.

When former FIFA ref Anders Frisk launched the FAI's Referee Development Plan four years ago, the aim was to double the number of competent referees in Ireland. The following year Wicklow-based Richie was nominated fourth official in the FAI Cup final.

This year he wrote his name large on the Association's 88th Cup final. The majority of the 21,000 paying customers on Sunday were flabbergasted at Winter's snap decision to red-card Shelbourne's Barry Clancy on 36 minutes.

I hate knocking referees. Theirs is a tough job. After he'd watched Thierry Henry palm the ball around the penalty area in our 2010 World Cup play-off, Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni told Swedish referee Martin Hansson: "It's possible to make a great mistake."

No doubt Shelbourne fans ruefully agree.

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

It's official. Golf caddy Steve Williams is not a racist. His former employer Tiger Woods says so.

At a caddies' night out last week, the grim New Zealander had crowed about his victory celebrations when his new employer, Adam Scott, won in Akron in August. "My aim was to shove it right up that black arsehole," Williams reportedly said.

Kiwi Williams, who earned an estimated $12m working for Woods, explained his position: "It was a fun sort of thing, everyone laughed their heads off."

Beleaguered Woods, who's now 58 in the world rankings, says Williams' remark was "hurtful, the wrong thing to say."

Not everyone agrees that Williams was misunderstood. Presidents Cup US Captain Fred Couples said: "If he was my caddie, he would be gone by now."

o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o

It's at time like these that I'm thankful to Fr Jim Duignan (Cavan) for having been a tough teacher. "Friends, countrymen and lads from Drumbaragh and Magheracloone, I come to bury the International Rules, not to praise them."

Since 1984, we've been making buck eejits of ourselves like men trying to devise a meaningful hybrid of tiddlywinks and snakes 'n' ladders. Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. You all did see, despite Geezer and The Bomber joining Tohill with Cluxton as captain, the Aussie punters stayed at home.

And yet we boast Ireland hath won the series. Two games. A series?

"O judgement! Thou art fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason. My heart is in the coffin there with Gaelic football."

First Citizen: "Methinks there is much reason in his sayings."