Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

GAA: Pressure mounts on referees

Martin Sludden

Former Cavan manager Tommy Carr has launched a blistering attack on what he claims is the deplorable standard of refereeing.

His comments come after a weekend when referees again found themselves under fire after some questionable decisions.

And just over two weeks since referee Martin Sludden’s blunder denied Louth a first provincial final success in 50 years.

Carr said that he took no delight in highlighting what he regarded as a recurring problem with the sport.

“It’s very important that the GAA holds its hands up and accepts it has a major problem with the standard rather than burying its head in the sand. If it involves bringing in some new technology then why not?”

Armagh referee Padraig Hughes found himself taken to task by Limerick manager Mickey Ned O’Sullivan after the Shannonsiders were denied a penalty only four minutes into their All Ireland football qualifier against Cork.

“We don’t have any grudges with Cork, but we do feel that the GAA will have to get the decision makers making the right decisions,” O’Sullivan said.

“I don’t have a persecution complex, but this is the third year in a row that poor decision making has cost us a game.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Ulster referees though, both Jimmy White and Pat McEnaney emerging with their reputations enhanced.

The former’s ability to let the Monaghan and Kildare football qualifier flow was a refreshing change from some of his colleagues who are whistle happy while McEnaney was his usual imperious self when taking control of the Dublin and Louth All Ireland qualifier in Croke Park.

Sport can often be cruel as Galway manager John McIntyre discovered after losing an All Ireland hurling quarter-final by a point for the second time in 12 months, but his demeanour at the finish was an example to all managers and coaches.

He felt his team should have been awarded a free in the last seconds, which might have enabled them to level the match.

“But look, no sour grapes. We lost a very close match by a point. I’ve never been as proud of that team as I am now,” he said.

Donegal fans will be praying that Jim McGuinness’s appointment as senior team manager will mark a new successful era for the county.

McGuinness, a Sigerson veteran in his younger days and an All Ireland senior medal winner in 1992, is relishing the prospect of reviving the county’s fortunes.

A man who doesn’t suffer fools gladly, he led the county to the All Ireland under 21 decider earlier this year and you sense he will run a much tighter ship than has been the case in Donegal.

Too often the county has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons so preventing it from realising its full potential.

He’s under no illusions of the long road ahead, but at least the fact he’s in on a four year term means he has time on his side.

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