Wednesday 17 January 2018

Cahill sees red over rookie refs


ANTRIM manager Dinny Cahill has accused the GAA of appointing inexperienced referees to Division 2 hurling fixtures.

Cahill is furious that his centre-forward Eddie McCloskey received a straight red card for a tangle with Laois's Sean Burke last weekend and says he still cannot fathom why his player was dismissed. He is disappointed with the overall standard of refereeing in the second tier.

"In all my years I never saw anything like last Sunday," Cahill says. "Eddie was spinning around, heading towards goal with his eyes directly ahead and simply brushed past the Laois player with his hand. Next thing he's off with a straight red. We had no chance after that with 14 men for the final 16 minutes. I just want this highlighted."

McCloskey duly travelled to Croke Park last Wednesday night for an appeal to the CCCC which was rejected because there was no evidence that the Antrim man did not use his hurley in the tackle with Burke. But Cahill remains deeply unhappy at the treatment dished out to his player.

"Firstly, I think he shouldn't have been sent off and secondly his appeal was not heard until midnight," he states. "He wasn't out of there until 12.15. What way is that to treat an amateur player who has work the next morning?

"From week to week, I feel we have referees who are inexperienced and make certain calls because they have assessors to please. It puts huge pressure on them. There was an assessor in the stand last Sunday and that must surely burden the official.

"Each week there's a different application of rules and I think we're not getting the standard of refereeing that we deserve in the second division."

Cahill attended a pre-season meeting between referees and managers and found it useful. There, he enquired if managers could politely approach officials after games to discuss controversial incidents or decisions but the notion was dismissed.

"We could leave the ground knowing their reasoning, whether it was right or wrong," he argues. "But that suggestion wasn't entertained."

Cahill is not the first manager outside of the top tier to speak out against the policy of trying out new officials in the lower sections of the league. Some weeks ago, Leitrim football manager Mickey Moran blasted the GAA over the same issue, accusing them of using football's bottom tier as a training ground for officials. Clare football boss Micheal McDermott also weighed in with similar criticism.

At the time, however, referees' chief Mick Curley responded by labelling the comments "ridiculous". "All referees at inter-county level are trained in the same manner. Some are more experienced than others, but that is the way it happens," he said.

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