Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: GAA needs to get tough on those who barrack match officials

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Longford Leader Columnist Mattie Fox: GAA needs to get tough on those who barrack match officials

Armagh referee Padraig Hughes sends off Longford's James McGivney during the Donegal v Longford All-Ireland SFC Qualifier Round 2A in 2017.

It seems that there are some very lazy, or else compliant, journalists around nowadays. I’ve yet to see anyone mention Kevin McLoughlin’s eight steps before he kicked the point in Ballybofey that caused Mayo to survive in Division One.
This sort of behaviour is indulged often by teams who are perceived as ‘deserving’ of a win.

The genuine hopefulness causes eyes to be glazed over and vision to be impaired by people who maybe should know better.

Perhaps we’re influenced by things such as a forward taking eight steps before scoring a goal against Longford in Armagh.

Or the nine steps forward of the correct free position taken by a Fermanagh’s freetaker in the final moment of Longford’s defeat in Pearse Park.

But I think not.

The way Gaelic games are refereed needs to be examined.

Last year in the All Ireland final, three Dublin forwards should have simultaneously received black cards, but just one got a black card.

Maybe the referee decided it made no difference.

It’s really not acceptable that teams who have laboured continuously see their dreams being robbed by sloppy refereeing.

Of course if a Gaelic match descends into a full scale row with lots of red cards then journalists write breathlessly as though it’s a new thing, and hasn’t happened before.

Our journalistic efforts are sadly lacking in courage, as all seem to value the placement in the press box to excess, and don’t want to upset the GAA applecart. Maybe the GAA would thank you, for writing that facts of what happens? Have you ever considered that?

We started the GAA championship last Sunday. Mayo v Galway.

Another day for the officials - who in fairness are paid chickenfeed compared with what they should receive - to exercise their power.

From the moment they throw in the ball - borrowed from one of the teams, a laughable occurrence happening over and over again and again, surely copper-fastening the notion that the GAA is still operating under the delusional need to portray a lack of affordability, while gathering in millions every year - the game is on, and the man in the middle is all powerful.

Well maybe not as much as one would ideally think.

From the moment the game starts, the ref is under a constant barrage of pleas, arguments, protests, claims that so-and-so should have got a free, goalies waving wide obvious scores.....why do the GAA allow this stuff to go on, and on?

What’s wrong with making it an offence to barrack the referee, sanctionable by sending the offender to the line for at least ten minutes?

What’s wrong with stopping a goalie from waving his arms as though every shot went wide? What are umpires for?

We’d soon see how easily GAA players can contain themselves.

It’s an awful bad sight to see a group of GAA players gathering round the referee, trying to influence his decision.

Particularly, since most of the things that are said are deliberately intended to wear the referee down gradually throughout the game.

Even referees are human, and eventually he’s so confused with the constant complaining, and criticism that he wavers a bit before blowing the whistle.

How can any referee give three deserved black cards to players who’ve been complaining all through the game? Inevitably, he wonders could it have been black for all? Really?

So he elects to send one to the line, and leave it at that.

These things cost another team the game. Contributing to one team losing the biggest game of the year.

On Sunday last we saw Galway win against Mayo. Deservedly winning, against a Mayo team who need to look closely at their discipline. Diarmuid O’Connor was shown a red card, just like his brother Cillian, when the same counties met earlier this year in the National Football League at Salthill.

In the last minutes of the game Galway let loose and played fast, unstoppably open football before the game ended, yielding a goal and a point.

What was wrong in the other boring, tiresome 71 minutes?