Belfast Telegraph

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Referees need to raise their standards, says Star's McCotter


By David Kelly

Belfast Star chairman Bill McCotter has hit out at the standard of refereeing in the All-Ireland Superleague on the back of his side's loss to Swords last weekend.

Star, who entertain Killester in this evening's Tayto-sponsored clash, suffered their first defeat of the campaign away to Swords having seen American Ryan Oliver sent off for two controversial unsportsmanlike fouls.

McCotter said: "I'm not saying that all referees are bad, but on what I saw last weekend there is a serious issue that needs to be addressed over this new unsportsmanlike conduct rule that has been brought in this season. The interpretation of the rule by officials is just too vague.

"The first call led to an audible sigh of disbelief from the crowd and the second was equally surprising and then later on we had one of our players tackled around the waist from behind and onto the floor and that wasn't given as an unsportsmanlike foul. There is no doubt in my mind those two calls cost us the game.

"I also feel there is an issue with some referees not being able to keep up with the speed of play. Teams like ourselves and a few others are playing a very fast tempo game which is entertaining for the crowd and some officials seem to be struggling.

"This could be a very exciting season for the sport and I just feel that it shouldn't be spoiled by inconsistent refereeing."

Meanwhile, Star were rocked this week when point guard Girts Clem said he could no longer play for the side due to work commitments. Clem had been regarded by coach Darren O'Neill as a significant boost to his squad.

"It's a blow for us because it takes away a bit of our depth but it also offers young Sean Quinn the chance for more game time. His brother Conor is our starting point guard and now Sean has the opportunity to come off the bench and make an impact and I've been very pleased with how he has worked this week," said O'Neill.

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