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Cargin's Tony Scullion sees red at lack of explanation for dismissal from Sunday’s Ulster club game

By Declan Bogue

Published 01/11/2016

Good to talk: Cargin veteran Tony Scullion has called on referees to communicate with players
Good to talk: Cargin veteran Tony Scullion has called on referees to communicate with players

Cargin's Tony Scullion has called for the GAA to encourage referees to communicate better with players after he was sent off in Sunday’s Ulster club game and, claims the defender, dismissed by referee Padraig Hughes with a ‘bye-bye.’

“I asked Padraig why exactly I got my second yellow card and his reply to me was, ‘bye-bye’,” claims Scullion after Cargin’s 2-10 to 1-8 defeat to Killyclogher.

He continues: “I went to the linesman off the field — again, mannerly — and I asked, ‘what exactly was that for?’ And he said, ‘cheerio’,” according to Scullion.

“My man went to offload the ball, hands out, he brushed into me and there was nothing malicious, nothing hard. I am a firm believer in firm but fair. The player stopped and started.

“But justify your decision, ref. And he just refused to do it.”

Scullion was carrying a knee injury through the Antrim Championship and had to have some debris removed from the joint.

“Half the knee is in a jam jar at home,” as he puts it.

The scaffolder then took just one day off work before returning and was soon back in full training for Cargin’s Ulster campaign.

He was introduced after an innocuous collision forced Kevin O’Boyle to come off at half-time, but Scullion’s game ended four minutes from the end when he walked for a second yellow card.

He admits the lack of justification for the decision frustrates him, stating: “You can’t talk to any referee on the field. They won’t talk to you.

“At times you might ask them. Not being mouthy or vocal about it. You come to them in confidence, quietly, in a nice manner to ask why exactly you turned that over, and they just shrug their shoulders as if to say, ‘I am the boss here’.”

He continues candidly: “I am at the end of my career now so I can say what I want about referees. During your career you have to be very wary of what you say and bite your tongue because it could come back to haunt you.

“For the likes of me who has played for so many years, you are just sick to the teeth of it.

“You are running about and you can’t play football because you are trembling on your toes because of people who have never played football at any level.”

Within the matchday programme, there was a full page dedicated to recruiting referees, with contact details for each Ulster county. Scullion has not dismissed that notion for himself in the future.

“I would like to see on paper how many of these referees ever played at the top level,” he says.

“Maybe they could say to players, ‘you could go and referee’ or whatever, and maybe I will! I’m not ruling that out.

“They don’t use boys who played football, who know what it is like to train six or seven months of the year and for them to come out and be in charge of you.”

Last year Cargin ran eventual winners Crossmaglen close in a tough-fought game and had designs on making progress in their second consecutive year competing for the Seamus McFerran Cup.

That they surrendered so meekly to Killyclogher will go down as a regret of Scullion’s.

“From the start of the year, we were trying to push on in Ulster,” he says. “In our minds we knew that we were good enough to win Antrim. And we needed to get our first win in Ulster.

“I can blame referees and blame this, that and the other but Cargin need to look at ourselves. Things just didn’t happen the way we would have liked them to.

“I am not trying to pass the blame onto referees and I am not trying to say that Killyclogher weren’t better than Cargin on the day because they were. But Cargin didn’t put in the display they would have liked to.”

However, he warned others in their county and province that they will return as a force in the new year.

“That team is not finished. Don’t get me wrong, it would have been nice to have gone on and done something in Ulster when you have all the teams and players that you know and consider yourselves as good as,” adds Scullion.

Belfast Telegraph

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