Camo­gie of­fi­cials in a ter­ri­fy­ing or­deal

Septem­ber 1992

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

A Wex­ford camo­gie ref­eree and his women um­pires were given a fright­en­ingly rough re­cep­tion in Laois af­ter a match on Sun­day. Boolavogue of­fi­cial Ado­hagán Swords was pelted with sticks and stones and had the air let out of a car tyre at O’Moore Park in Port­laoise, and later was prac­ti­cally forced off the road as he and his fe­male match of­fi­cials at­tempted to leave town.

He needed a Garda es­cort for the short walk from the chang­ing rooms to his car, which he found partly blocked by a driver who refused to move.

Most ter­ri­fy­ing of all, he and his col­leagues were chased out of town at speeds of up to 80 mph be­fore be­ing forced off the road. An at­tempt was made to grab his keys and only when this failed was he per­mit­ted to go on his way back to Co. Wex­ford.

The in­ci­dents arose out of the Le­in­ster Ju­nior club tie be­tween Avoca of Wick­low and Laois rep­re­sen­ta­tives, Slieve Bloom. Sun­day’s match was de­scribed by one ob­server as a good, tough game, and it re­sulted in a 2-6 to 1-6 win for the vis­it­ing Avoca girls.

As he left the pitch, Mr Swords was the tar­get of sticks thrown at him by irate spectators. A woman walk­ing be­side him was hit by a stone as big an adult’s hand, and had to be helped from the scene.

Af­ter this, the match of­fi­cials made no at­tempt to leave the ground un­til the Gardai were in at­ten­dance. When they fi­nally emerged un­der es­cort, there was still a large crowd hang­ing around the exit, and it was dis­cov­ered that the ref­eree’s car was hemmed in.

With it was even­tu­ally moved, the ref­eree found he had a flat tyre, and a match­stick was later re­moved from the tyre valve. Once back on the road, at­tempts were made by an­other ve­hi­cle to stop him tak­ing the car into the cor­rect lane for the Wex­ford turn-off.

How­ever, the Boolavogue man fi­nally ac­cel­er­ated away, only to be caught about four miles from town. He was forced to stop and pull over by the driver of a Toy­ota Corolla who was pre­pared to drive within inches of his quarry.

The driver’s door was un­locked on the Wex­ford car and a man made an un­suc­cess­ful grab at the ig­ni­tion key. Even­tu­ally, the ha­rassed of­fi­cial and his um­pires were al­lowed to drive off.

The camo­gie au­thor­i­ties are study­ing the ref­eree’s re­port on the match be­fore con­sid­er­ing whether any ac­tion is nec­es­sary. It is un­der­stood that the Gardai have also re­ceived a com­plaint aris­ing from the game.

Aod­hagán him­self, who is cur­rent PRO for the Wex­ford County Camo­gie Board, refused this week to make any com­ment on the af­fair.

A spokes­woman for the Laois County Camo­gie Board was this week quoted in the ‘Ir­ish Press’ as be­ing crit­i­cal of some of the Slive Bloom sup­port­ers. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to the ‘Press’ re­port, she felt that the fans were left with ‘very few op­tions’ be­cause of cer­tain de­ci­sions made dur­ing the game.

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