Wednesday 21 August 2019

Ref Coldrick insists dissent is not a problem despite documentary response

Kerry forward Colm Cooper checks the time on the watch of David Coldrick
during the closing minutes of this year’s All-Ireland SFC final
Kerry forward Colm Cooper checks the time on the watch of David Coldrick during the closing minutes of this year’s All-Ireland SFC final
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Leading football referee David Coldrick has dismissed any impression left by last week's documentary on this year's All-Ireland football final that there is an issue with dissent in the game.

The documentary All-Ireland Day, featuring the build-up through the eyes of some of those at the coalface, drew acclaim but also concern from players, including Kerry's Colm Cooper this week, that they were not aware that condensed versions of some of their conversations with Coldrick, who was wearing a microphone, would be broadcast.

Coldrick's handling of the exchanges were praised as he sought to communicate his decisions to those on the receiving end of them. He admitted to looking back on the programme and wondering if he could have been stronger with some of what was said.

But overall he is content that the nature of the exchanges are not a problem and that players' attitude to referees has improved in recent years. "I don't think there is a big issue with verbals, certainly not at inter-county level," he said. "Players have moved on over the course of a number of years. If there is (anything) it will be acted upon.

"Sometimes you see things and hear things. Like on the programme, even for me, I'm looking at one or two things and thinking like 'should I have been stronger in terms of what was said once or twice?'

"Actually, on the day I didn't think so at all. You have to allow that they are in the middle of a cauldron of 82,000 spectators as well and I didn't think there was anything untoward about the conversation back and forth with players."

Coldrick said he would have no problem if an audio link with referees was available for broadcast. "I'd have no problem with that; communication being available more widespread.

"Maybe players will (be more careful with their words), if they know that this is readily available, but even just to see it from the refereeing angle where you are trying to explain, there and then, to a player what you saw in that particular decision you made or didn't make. It may be helpful. It certainly can't do us any harm in terms of being involved in last week's programme."

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Coldrick was involved in a similar documentary Men In Black, aired on Setanta, last year which featured his involvement in the 2013 Ulster final and carried similar dialogue.

"People don't really think about what the referee is doing or saying in the course of a game. It's really all about his decisions and whether or not they agree or disagree with them so they don't see anything beyond that."

The three-time All-Ireland final referee felt the Dublin/Kerry All-Ireland final was one of the "quieter games in terms of the conversation back and forward between players and referee".

He admits to making a point of ensuring he knows the first name of a player he is about to speak to, regularly consulting the fourth official who has access to a programme beforehand.

"Communication is on first-name basis. Obviously it won't always work in every game. In All-Ireland finals it tends to.

"But we have also developed methods in other games where obviously the fourth official is hooked up to you, he has a programme in front of him, if you can't think of a name just as you are approaching a player he'll come across and give me a first name.

"I think (it's important) in terms of respect of players. I know it doesn't always work, as was shown with the Aidan O'Mahony clip, in terms of getting a player's attention.

"But I think it is more respectful calling a player to you like that if you know his first name rather than calling him by the number.

"It only works if you are doing that with every player. You can't just be using the names of the guys you know and numbers of the guys you don't know. You either have to do it 100 per cent or you don't do it at all."

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