Re­port was “fright­en­ing”

Shock at dis­ci­plinary de­tails

Bray People - - SPORT - BREN­DAN LAWRENCE at County Build­ings

A “damn­ing indictment” was how Vic­tor O’Shaungh­nessy de­scribed the de­tails of in­ci­dents of abuse to­wards Wick­low ref­er­ees dur­ing ju­ve­nile games that were con­tained within Ed­die Leonard’s re­port at the Coiste na nOg con­ven­tion on Thurs­day evening last.

“It’s fright­en­ing,” added O’Shaugh­nessy, “we as an as­so­ci­a­tion can­not al­low that to hap­pen.

“It’s the most damn­ing re­port I’ve read in quite some time. It’s not a sur­prise that more ref­er­ees haven’t re­signed. Who would want to suf­fer that abuse,” he said.

“I tell you one thing, it’s a dis­grace. We should be ashamed of our­selves,” he con­cluded.

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,” wrote 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 be­tween Bray Em­mets and Avon­dale.

“Adam Flem­ing from Balt­in­glass re­signed from of­fi­ci­at­ing been 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-con­sider, 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.

“Game was St. Kevin’s v Coolkenno.

“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. Game was St. Pa­trick’s v Balt­in­glass.

“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 then 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. Game was Coolkenno v An Tochar.

The St. Pat’s club man had be­gan his re­port­ing of th­ese events by ap­plaud­ing the ref­er­ees who of­fi­ci­ated at games.

“I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to sin­cerely thank all our ref­er­ees who of­fi­ci­ated at games for Coiste na nOg in 2014.

“They are the true sol­diers of our as­so­ci­a­tion and their com­mit­ment to our games should never be taken for granted.

“A spe­cial word of praise and thanks to Cathy Forde who joined us in 2014. Cathy was a great help and was al­ways avail­able by ap­point­ment or at short no­tice to of­fi­ci­ate at any game.

“How­ever, it was sad to hear and lis­ten to at games some of the abuse and in­sults by team men­tors, of­fi­cials and play­ers to­wards our ref­er­ees.

“Some of the abuse and in­sults was very per­sonal and is to­tally un­war­ranted.

“It will have to stop, and se­ri­ous sanc­tions and penal­ties must be handed down.

“Once again, to all the ref­er­ees, I sin­cerely thank you for your help, com­mit­ment and co-op­er­a­tion dur­ing 2014.

Leonard also warned that in the fu­ture he could see the Gardai be­ing called to games if in­ci­dents such as th­ese con­tin­ued.

Coiste na Nog Chair­man, Martin Fitzger­ald had high­lighted the dis­ci­plinary prob­lems in his ad­dress ear­lier in the meet­ing where he had said: “There were some dis­ci­plinary prob­lems dur­ing the year but the clubs dealt with them in­ter­nally and that makes things eas­ier for the C.C.C.,” he said.

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