Referee shortage is very worrying problem in Carbery GAA, warns chairman Lyons

December 8th, 2019 9:42 AM

By Kieran McCarthy

SW G.A.A. Convention

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CARBERY clubs have been warned of the possible repercussions if the division’s ongoing shortage of referees continues.

At the division’s AGM last Friday night week, both chairperson Tom Lyons and secretary Donal McCarthy highlighted the issue in their respective reports.

They both stressed that it’s a problem that needs to be solved, otherwise there is a chance that the programme of games will be cut.

‘The age profile of our small band of referees is a huge worry,’ stated Lyons, who is concerned that the problem is getting worse instead of better.

‘Some of our referees are now in their sixties and deserve awards for keeping the show on the road. This season we had a young referee, Shane Scanlon, refereeing one of our finals and it was as rare as welcoming a priest in his thirties to a parish.

‘Many blame the abuse referees receive for the fall-off in the number of referees but most of that abuse is coming from the sidelines and not from the players and supporters. That will have to stop and clubs have a duty to control their mentors on the line. As a board we have a zero tolerance policy on this.

‘But the biggest reason we are not getting new referees is not the abuse but the lack of support from clubs for their own referees. It is getting almost impossible to get referees for championship games because they need full teams of umpires and linesmen with them and clubs are no longer providing those.

‘The clubs will have to step up to the plate in this regard or the programme of games will have to be cut and nobody wants that. At present a sub-committee of three has been set up and they are visiting all the clubs who do not supply referees to the board. Hopefully, we will see an improvement in the situation in 2020.’

Lyons’ view was echoed by secretary Donal McCarthy.

‘It is important that our players and members realise the dedicated and quality service that our referees provide. Instances of abuse are unacceptable and should be severely penalised,’ McCarthy said.

‘Two referees in-service courses for existing referees were held in Bantry and Clonakilty during February. A total of 38 referees attended.

‘We still have clubs in the Carbery division that do not provide referees for our championship programme. At times this year the availability of referees for our championship games was a serious problem. Thanks to the referees who officiated at very short notice.

‘Clubs will have to face reality and provide new referees to officiate at championship fixtures, otherwise we will have to call off these fixtures.

‘Also, clubs must be prepared to support their referees doing championship games by providing umpires and linesmen.

‘The referees from the clubs who provide referees must be thanked for helping us to play all our championship programme in 2019.’

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