Saturday 20 January 2018

From the stands: McAteer suggests refereeing overhaul

WE suspect that Down secretary Seán Óg McAteer put it mildly when he wrote: "I will probably incur the wrath here of referees within Down but I do feel that we need to improve our standards."

McAteer's report to next weekend's Down convention is rightly big on satisfaction at the performance of the senior football squad, but as usual with such reports, the sting is in the tail.

"I again raise the suggestion that we pool with Armagh and Louth/Antrim to appoint referees for our three respective club championships," writes McAteer, "what is to be lost by being open to change? Will the only thing that suffers by trying such an experiment be our egos? If this is the case then we should go immediately and put it into place for 2011. Sharing of experiences and resources will be good for us all, it should be a good learning experience and improve our standards."

We wonder what referees think of such a suggestion.

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AND on the subject of referees, Hugh Dallas made a late bid for his place in heaven when he stepped down from his role as Head of Referees' Development in the SFA.

Earlier last week, the director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office, Peter Kearney, had written to the SFA demanding that Dallas be forced out of his position if allegations that he had sent a "totally unprofessional, gratuitously insulting to the Pope, deeply offensive to the Catholic community of Scotland, and an incitement to anti-Catholic sectarianism" e-mail were proved to be correct.

Assuming Dallas' act of contrition is accepted by the Pope and his representative in heaven, Celtic fans can now look forward to a happy reunion in the afterlife. We wonder if the Choir of Angels know the words to The Fields of Athenry?

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CARLOW chairman Pat Deering has vacated his position on the county board to seek a Dáil seat in the General Election.

After four years, Deering -- who spearheaded the drive to establish a Centre of Excellence -- has decided to step down from office and will run for Fine Gael. The Rathvilly clubman, 43, will hardly be the last GAA figure to put himself before the people. Sports broadcaster Barry O'Neill was on the FG ticket in the Donegal by-elections, while speculation continues that Tony Browne is FF's only hope of taking a Waterford city seat.

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A short film about the legendary Eddie Moroney (plain-speaking commentator on the Tipperary under 21 football final of 1992) will be premiered in the Revolution Bar, John's Street, Waterford, on Thursday next, December 2, at 8.30. The commentary reveals a flair for unparliamentary language ("b******s of a ref", etc.) and unholy bias. Tickets are €5 and available from Waterford Healing Arts Trusts (Tel 051-842664). Proceeds in aid of the WHAT programme of music in the Dementia Specific Unit, St Aidan's Ward, St Otteran's Hospital.

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LIMERICK hurling may not have enjoyed much senior success these past few years but at least they are doing something about it.

Mindful that they need to start producing players soon in a terrain where rugby is so powerful, the county board has appointed senior hurler Gavin O'Mahony as GAA Regeneration Officer. His mission is to assist in the process to increase participation of 10- to 21-year-olds. Another good move is the imminent appointment of Joe Quaid as board coaching officer. Things are on the up at last.

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THE quiet rural hamlet of Grangemockler hosted a large attendance recently to mark the 90th anniversary of the death of Michael Hogan, the Tipperary footballer shot in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday along with 13 others by British forces. An oration was given by Mick Egan of Clonmel Commercials, a former chairman of Tipp South Board, whose uncle Jim Egan was one of the Tipp men playing that day, November 21, 1920. Ned Hanrahan sang the Ballad of Mick Hogan and a wreath was laid on Hogan's grave by local GAA officials.

Fergus McDonnell, Damian Lawlor, Dermot Crowe

Sunday Independent

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