'Gumshield fitting shouldn't stop play'
Referees are not obliged to stop games so that players can leave the field of play to fit new mouth guards, the GAA's Games Administration and National Match Officials Manager Pat Doherty has stated.
His clarification comes in the wake of stinging criticism by Kildare football manager Cian O'Neill of referee David Gough for the yellow card the Meath official showed to Kildare captain Eoin Doyle for failing to comply with a direction to put in a mouth guard during Sunday's Allianz Division 1 league match against Donegal.
O'Neill contended that Doyle was on his way to the sideline for a new mouth guard after his initial one was knocked out by the force of a challenge.
But when he went to gather a kick-out from goalkeeper Mark Donnellan, it prompted Gough to show him a second yellow and subsequent red after just 15 minutes.
O'Neill claimed the match should have been stopped "to let everyone know, no more than a blood sub or a black card" but Doherty said this wasn't the case.
"With normal injuries the games carry on unless it's a head injury when we would be advising referees to stop the play. If a fella ties his lace are we going to stop the game?" said Doherty.
"Apart from the jersey, it's the only piece of gear that a player has to wear, according to rule. We don't have players going out on the field to play hurling matches without helmets," he said.
Doherty said it was still quite a common occurrence in games but referees always gave a warning to comply before a card was issued.
It has also emerged that Doyle's colleague Kevin Feely was also booked after just five minutes for failing to comply with a similar instruction by Gough.