Wexford People

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Probe into alleged assault on referee

O'Loughlin left stretched on the ground during match


Referee John O'Loughlin

Referee John O'Loughlin

Referee John O'Loughlin

Wexford GAA will launch an investigation into an incident involving match referee John O'Loughlin as soon as they receive a report.

It's also understood that Enniscorthy Gardai will carry out a separate investigation into the incident having received a report from the Monageer-Boolavogue official.

Duffry Rovers and Enniscorthy Rapparees clashed in the Permanent TSB Enniscorthy District Junior 'B' hurling championship on Thursday evening last, a game which the Duffry won on a final scoreline of 3-14 to 0-15.

Five minutes from the end of the game, O'Loughlin was on the receiving end of an incident when a member of the Rapparees, who was not playing on the evening, raced onto the pitch, with the referee left stretched on the ground.

While O'Loughlin decided to finish out the game he was clearly angry with the incident which he claims 'has no place in the G.A.A.'

Speaking about the game and the lead up to the incident, O'Loughlin was clearly angry and upset.

He said: 'I put a Rapparees player off during the first half following a helmet offence. After that they were not happy with me.'

Relating to the lead up to the second half incident, O'Loughlin added:

'A Rapparees man was doing the sideline. During the second half a Duffry Rovers player was carrying the ball along the sideline, the Rapps were looking for a sideline. I did not give it as the ball had not crossed the line. This happened a second time and a hurl was thrown, but fortunately it did not hit me.

'But it did not end there. A man came running at me. I was left flat on my back on the ground. It was a Rapparees club man who was not playing on the evening.

'I was raging for letting him do it. I followed him over to the sideline, asking him his name.'

But O'Loughlin was determined to finish out the game despite saying that in his view it was an 'assault on a referee'.

'I was not going to let him get the better of me and Duffry Rovers. I decided to finish out the game as there was only five minutes remaining,' he added.

Reflecting back on the incident, O'Loughlin said: 'I believe it was scandalous what happened. I don't believe this man, or anyone like him, has a place in the G.A.A. community. I always deem myself a fair referee, not one who seeks attention.

The minimum suspension for assault on a referee is 48 weeks, but O'Loughlin believes a lengthy ban should be imposed.

'Forty-eight weeks is the minimum for an assault on a referee, but I believe it should be a lengthy ban. Many believe that such offences should carry a life ban.

'I have been in receipt of many telephone calls since the incident from colleagues and G.A.A. people.

He also said that following the game he reported the incident to Enniscorthy Gardai.

'I reported the matter to Enniscorthy Gardai immediately after the game. No doubt they will follow up with an investigation.'

Aidan O'Leary, Chairman of Wexford Disciplinary Committee, said on Monday they are still awaiting the referee's report.

'I have heard of the incident. We will await the referees report before deciding on the format for an investigation,' he said.

John O'Loughlin is looked upon as one of the leading young referees in the county with players and clubs impressed by his composed controlling of games.

G.A.A. Spokesperson, Margaret Doyle, said on Monday: 'We are not issuing any statement at the moment.'

Meanwhile, the Disciplinary Committee has finalised an investigation relating to an incident during the Rapparees and Buffers Alley Junior hurling championship game the previous weekend involving match referee Padraig Byrne and a Buffers Alley player during the course of the game.

On their findings into this incident, O'Leary said: 'We have completed our investigation and our findings have been sent to the player and club.

'A suspension has been recommended but the player has three days to lodge an appeal.

'It will be the end of the week before we can make a formal announcement.'

However, no further action is likely to be taken relating to an incident during the St. James' and Glynn-Barntown Senior football championship game on Friday evening last in Hollymount were Wexford hurling star, Matthew O'Hanlon, received a nasty eye injury.

Match referee, Billy Dodd, dealt with the incident by way of a second yellow card to Glynn-Barntown player, Craig Doyle.

The incident, said Dodd, came as the result of a throw-in ball.

'I threw the ball in between O'Hanlon and Doyle. O'Hanlon went to ground, losing the ball. Doyle booted at the ball. I went over and dealt with the incident by way of a second yellow card. At the time I did not realise that he (Doyle) had connected with the head of Matthew (O'Hanlon), but he was livid after the game, having received a cut under the eye as a result of the incident.'

However, when the referee's report comes before the Disciplinary Committee it's likely to be deemed that the matter has already been dealt with by the issuing of a second yellow card.

Wexford People