NATIONAL Referees co-ordinator Michael Curley has reacted to the suspensions laid down on the Rasharkin GAA club this week by insisting that violence and intimidation of match officials cannot be tolerated at any level.
The Antrim county board has moved to expel one player, two club members, and a member of the club’s coaching staff following the attack on match referee Ray Matthews following their Antrim U21 Championship clash against Lamh Dhearg at Ballymena last month.
A total of ten individuals from the St Mary’s club have been handed down punishments, ranging from four-week bans to lifetime suspensions. The club has also been banned from all adult competitions above minor level for one year. Former inter-county referee Curley, who now co-ordinates the training and appointments of match officials at central level, believes that although uncommon, such incidents are extremely damaging to the Association.
“I think any such incident of intimidation or physical violence towards a match official should be handled swiftly and punished effectively. Refereeing is a tough enough job without the added pressure of abuse or the threat of violence from players, officials or supporters.
“At the end of the day, it’s totally pointless because it’s not going to change the result or any decision on the pitch. All it does is to get clubs into bother, as we’ve seen, and portray the Association in a very bad light.”
To read the full story, buy the current issue of Gaelic Life (published November 10) online or in your newsagent