‘We should be ashamed’
Coiste na nOg Convention hears of shocking incidents
“IT’S frightening,” was how Avondale’s Victor O’Shaughnessy described Eddie Leonard’s report into disciplinary incidents involving adults during juvenile games in Wicklow in 2014 at the recent Coiste na nOg Convention in Aughrim.
Leonard had outlined four separate incidents in his report including one where a referee was forced to take shelter in a club house, another where a referee was grabbed by the throat, and a third where a young referee had resigned after being verbally abused during a game.
“Disappointing that we had a number of issues in 2014,” said Leonard. “Ciaran Gaskin had to abandon an Under-14 hurling game was in Bray due to abuse and insults from an inter-county player who was acting as a mentor with his team. Game was Bray Emmets against Avondale.
“Adam Fleming from Baltinglass resigned after being subjected to dreadful verbal abuse by an adult at an Under-12 game in Hollywood.
“Despite speaking with Adam and pleading with him to re-con- sider, his words were, “Why should I bother putting myself in that position, when I can be doing better things on a Monday evening”, I had to accept and respect Adam’s decision.
“Pat Hickey was abused and aggressively confronted by team officials and a parent at an Under-14 championship game in Wicklow. Pat had to be taken into the St. Pat’s club house for his safety. John Whyte was grabbed by the throat and abused at the end of the Under-14 ‘C’ final on October 12 in Annacurra.
“Then just for good measure at the same game, a club Juvenile Chairman was knocked out with a punch from a person from his own club while trying to help the referee,” said Leonard.
Victor O’Shughnessy went on to say that it was one of the most damning reports he had read in recent times.
“We as an association cannot allow that to happen. It’s the most damning report I’ve read in quite some time. It’s a surprise that more referees haven’t resigned. Who would want to suffer that abuse?” he asked. “I tell you one thing, it’s a disgrace. We should be ashamed of ourselves,” he concluded.