The main talking point of the weekend from an officiating perspective took place at Dr Hyde Park on Saturday evening where Kevin McStay showed his frustration after Roscommmon didn’t get a free when Donegal’s Stephen McMenamin appeared to foul Diarmuid Murtagh.
Referee Ciaran Branagan, who had a mixed day, should certainly have awarded a free and though McStay’s irritation was perhaps justified, making his feelings known to linesman Niall Cullen wasn’t the way to go about it. Linesmen are not in a position to award frees and that’s a fact that seems to be lost on a lot of people. Therefore, for me, McStay’s actions were wrong.
McStay will probably find himself in hot water for the altercation, as well as hopping the ball off a match official’s shoulder as the half-time whistle went. I understand McStay did apologise at half-time and he remarked afterwards that he was asked to remain in the dugout for the second half, which I found unusual.
There’s a considerable disconnect between referees, players, management and supporters when it comes to the rules which needs to be addressed.
During the National League everyone should sit down together and these creases could be ironed out.
It’s something that I suggested in my time as a referee, although it didn’t get too far at Croke Park. For me it would certainly go some way to redressing certain situations and if these were sorted, there might be more clarity and therefore less frustration from all parties and as a consequence, officials might be treated with more respect.
Another thing sneaking back into the game (and is going unpunished for the most part) is the use of the hand-off. Kieran Donaghy was rightly booked for this offence in Clones but Monaghan can be a little annoyed in regards to David Clifford’s equaliser in the depths of injury time.
I checked the rule on this to be sure so here it is - ‘Rule 1.2 Any player who falls or is knocked to the ground while in possession of the ball may fist or palm the ball away on the ground and may score’ and this wasn’t the case as Colin Walshe was penalised in the lead-up to Clifford’s goal.
There were a couple of things for Sean Hurson at Newbridge and in particular, the disallowed goal by Galway’s Damien Comer who looked to be fouled before scoring a goal and was then penalised for overcarrying. But seeing the advantage was given, Comer did foul the ball.
Daniel Flynn was sent off on the advice of Joe McQuillan, who was on the line.
McQuillian is the type of official who wouldn’t make such a call unless he was 100 per cent sure.
At Healy Park in Omagh, David Coldrick could have been over fussy but decided not to be in an intense battle between Tyrone and Dublin.
It was a tough, physical game and Coldrick took the sensible approach and showed his standing as one of the two best refs in the country.
Neither team can have any real complaints about his performance.
Overall, although there were the usual talking points. The standards of officialdom wasn’t bad over the weekend and therefore those in charge do need to be given some credit, especially since there’s a home and away element to the Super8s.
We’re now looking ahead to the All-Ireland hurling semi-finals and we need a couple of good performances from the men in the middle. Paud O’Dwyer has to step-up as he takes charge of Cork’s clash with Limerick and James Owens, who has had something of a topsy—turvy season will be looking after the fixture between Galway and Clare.
The hurling quarter-finals were officiated well and in what has been an excellent championship, it would be great if we were saying the same again next Monday.