Tuesday 24 October 2017

Players should look within before giving out to referees

John Mullane

MICHAEL Wadding got fair stick for his refereeing performance in the Tipp-Kilkenny match last Sunday, but I'm going to back him up on this one. He's a fellow county man and, knowing him, he'll have analysed the decisions he made to send off Kilkenny's Tommy Walsh and Noel McGrath.

He may have got them wrong, but refs are only human and they are under incredible pressure. There's so much emphasis on strength and conditioning and diet, but I think team managers should take some time out to guide school players about how to deal with referees – in a nice way.

Our club De La Salle had a terrible discipline problem prior to last year, but in 11 games up to the Munster club final, we got just two yellow cards. The emphasis was on improved discipline – it was drilled into us.

We had a player sent off in the Munster final and that contributed to our downfall, but you could argue that John Keane was unlucky. The point is that showing referees a little respect can go a long way.

The one referee that I always used to enjoy chatting to was Barry Kelly (above), who would explain things to me. As I got older, I spoke more to refs in a controlled manner, instead of screaming at them like I did when I was a young player.

We shouldn't forget that refs are being marked by assessors in the stand and they have to officiate to the letter of the law. And they'll make mistakes too, just like players.

Spitting at opponent is lowest of the low

I'VE been following the headlines over the last couple of weeks and unfortunately a couple of spitting incidents have been in the spotlight.

For me, spitting has no place in the GAA. I'd rather be assaulted than be spat on by an opponent. It's the lowest of the low.

Sure, you'd hear players calling each other names and I've dished out a few verbals myself, but spitting at another player is simply unacceptable.

Thankfully, it's never happened to me. We're all adults and as such, we should understand that there's a line you don't cross.

I have to admit that I would find it very difficult not to retaliate if an opponent spat at me.

Irish Independent

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