No games for ref­er­ees without four um­pires

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - SPORT -

KIL­TE­GAN’S Damien Byrne raised the con­tin­u­ing is­sue of a lack of match um­pires at GAA games right across Wick­low at Mon­day evening’s County Board meet­ing in Bal­li­nakill.

‘Three cham­pi­onship matches for three weeks in a row; three ref­er­ees took to the fields with only two um­pires, and I’m led to be­lieve that one of the ref­er­ees was of­fered two um­pires by the club that was host­ing the match and he re­fused the um­pires, that came from that club. I think it’s not good enough. I’ve spo­ken to the ref­eree’s ad­min­is­tra­tor, Ed­die Leonard, as well in a con­ver­sa­tion on this. I think the ref­er­ees have to be ad­dressed on this.

‘This thing of go­ing (to matches) with two um­pires is not good enough. It’s not fair on clubs, not fair on play­ers, be­cause one um­pire, and I know from ex­pe­ri­ence of um­pir­ing, you can­not see ev­ery­thing that’s go­ing on. There are play­ers be­ing sent off as we see in this doc­u­ment here (min­utes of the CCC meet­ings) and there’s play­ers get­ting off and I don’t think it’s be­ing fair to the clubs or the play­ers. The ref­eree is not car­ry­ing out his du­ties, to be fair, he shouldn’t be go­ing out with two um­pires,’ he said.

Wick­low GAA’s ref­eree ad­min­is­tra­tor Ed­die Leonard said he ‘to­tally agreed’ with what Damien Byrne had just said and he added that the onus was on the match ref­eree to pro­vide four um­pires, prefer­ably from his own club.

‘He was of­fered the um­pires and he didn’t take them, and I will speak to the ref­eree in ques­tion about that. But go­ing for­ward, I will, my­self, Paul Wil­son and Kieron Kenny, we will be look­ing at the record of this and only ref­er­ees who are guar­an­teed to pro­vide four um­pires will be ap­pointed to fur­ther cham­pi­onship games’.

‘Any cham­pi­onship where the ref­eree hasn’t got four um­pires, he is let­ting him­self down and he’s giv­ing him­self no chance at all, so that will be ad­dressed im­me­di­ately,’ said Leonard.

Paul Wil­son told the del­e­gates that the county is ‘fly­ing by the seat of your pants’ when it comes to ref­er­ees and um­pires.

‘We are lit­er­ally down to the bare min­i­mum,’ he said. ‘There are matches there where we haven’t had um­pires be­cause they aren’t in the sys­tem. So, clubs are go­ing to have to do some­thing about that, as in nom­i­nate peo­ple to come for­ward as ref­er­ees. If the of­fi­cials aren’t there it‘s not pos­si­ble,’ he added.

‘I to­tally agree with that,’ said Damien Byrne. ‘But the one thing that is be­ing driven here by the top ta­ble all year and by your­self, Paul, is that if the club steps out of line they are go­ing to be fined. To be fair, if the ref­eree ar­rives out with two um­pires there’s no con­se­quences. It’s not good enough. It has to be ad­dressed,’ he said.

‘Clubs have to take a lit­tle bit of onus as well,’ said County Chair­man Martin Fitzger­ald. ‘The abuse of um­pires does be ter­ri­ble at times, too,’ he said.

Billy Byrne won­dered if the ref­eree didn’t ac­cept the of­fer of um­pires due to a lack of train­ing or ex­pe­ri­ence.

‘We can’t just pick any­one, you know, hop into the back of a car and do um­pire for me. If an in­ci­dent hap­pens, what hap­pens then?’ he asked.

‘But ev­ery ref­eree is a mem­ber of his club, he’s an ac­tive mem­ber of his club. I’m sure he can pick up four guys,’ added Damien Byrne.

The Val­ley­mount del­e­gate asked if it was in the rules that the host club was to pro­vide um­pires. Martin Fitzger­ald said that it was not a rule any more.

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