Saturday 21 April 2018

Time the GAA 'woke up' to erratic umpires – McNulty

Laois manager Justin McNulty
Laois manager Justin McNulty
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Laois football manager Justin McNulty has raised stern questions about the standard of umpiring after a glaring error in his side's Division 2 league match against Derry in Celtic Park on Sunday.

Clips uploaded to YouTube clearly show a Ross Munnelly shot cannon off the stanchion behind the crossbar and bounce back into play. The umpire to the left of Derry goalkeeper Thomas Mallon bends to get a better view as the ball goes over the crossbar and then picks up the white flag.

But after consultation the two umpires decide that it wasn't a point, an incident that McNulty says was "momentum changing."

Laois were three points clear after Munnelly's 'point', but they subsequently lost by three.


McNulty says it is "incredible" that two umpires in such proximity could make such a decision.

"It's not in any way justifying our defeat because Derry were the better team and deserved their victory," McNulty says.

"But there are a number of key questions to be answered. Why did he (umpire) reach for his flag and then pull back? Was there pressure put on from the Derry goalkeeper?

"If this was a high-profile game there would be a big fuss about it, but because it's a second division match between two perceived lesser teams (nothing was done) and I think it's time the GAA woke up to this."

McNulty believes the GAA should look at developing goalposts with a more discreet stanchion if possible because it is a recurring issue.

Plans are in the pipeline to introduce eye tests for all inter-county umpires at some stage over the next 12 months.

Meanwhile, the GAA's Central Competition Controls Committee have refixed the two games called off last Sunday due to unplayable pitches for Saturday, February 23.

Louth will host Galway at 2.30, and Wexford travel to play Armagh at the Athletic Grounds at 7.0.

Irish Independent

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