Wexford avoid referees' strike in wake of alleged assault on official

St Joseph’s mentor Glen McManus, who has since been suspended indefinitely by his club, has expressed regret for what he did to Michael Lannigan
Wexford avoid referees' strike in wake of alleged assault on official

Flash point: The incident came at the final whistle of St. Joseph's junior football defeat to Our Lady’s Island. Pic: ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Wexford GAA have avoided a referees’ strike after a list of actions were agreed on between officials and referees on Tuesday night.

Called after a second referee was allegedly assaulted in the county in the space of six weeks on Sunday, an emergency meeting between the county executive, county’s referees and the referees administration committee came to a number of decisions.

All clubs must hold workshops for mentors from U11 to adult level before next Wednesday, October 5 and report a self-evaluation of their conduct towards match officials to the county executive by the following day. Any club that doesn’t comply will have their fixtures postponed.

Wexford are to also call at the next Central Council meeting for a Special Congress to be arranged to remove the 96-week maximum ban for verbal or physical threat to an official and replace it with debarment and/or expulsion from the GAA.

They are also proposing a review and simplification of the GAA disciplinary system and an overhaul of the “Give Respect - Get Respect” campaign as well as further restricting where mentors can move during games.

The Wexford statement concludes: “Games will proceed as fixed for the coming weekend and all players, mentors, parents and supporters will provide the deserved support to our referees and match officials.

In addition, prior to all games for the remainder of this year, players, team mentors and referees will line up for a Give Respect – Get Respect handshake prior to the game.”

The individual at the centre of the controversy has publicly apologised for the incident. St Joseph’s mentor Glen McManus, who has since been suspended indefinitely by his club, has expressed regret for what he did to Michael Lannigan at the final whistle of their junior football defeat to Our Lady’s Island in Whiterock Hill in Wexford town on Sunday. He has claimed not to have struck the referee but pushed him.

“It was a very tight game and emotions got the better of me,” McManus told the “Wexford People”. “I was totally in the wrong. I understand that. I’m sorry it happened and I mean that. I’m raging with myself.” 

A statement released by St Joseph's GAA club read: "Following a meeting of the executive committee of St. Joseph’s GAA club, a decision has been taken to suspend indefinitely with immediate effect the club member at the centre of the alleged incident at our junior football game on Sunday morning. A full investigation is now underway by our club disciplinary committee along with Wexford GAA Co Board and the CCC."

Meanwhile, 2023 could see Dublin senior footballers play their first home Allianz League game in a normal season outside Croke Park in 13 years.

The county’s relegation to Division 2 and the anticipated smaller attendances might compel the board to either move some or all their home fixtures to Parnell Park.

As part of the home-away cycle in year two of two, Dublin are due to have four home matches in 2023 having had three this past season. Dublin’s Division 2 opponents next year are Clare, Cork, Derry, Kildare, Limerick, Louth and Meath.

A home clash with Kildare or Meath might yet provide enough of an occasion to rent out Croke Park –26,027 watched the Dublin-Kildare 2018 Division 1 opener. Parnell Park's capacity is approximately 8,750.

Only twice since 2011 has the team played home matches outside GAA HQ but both were in exceptional circumstances – the 2020 Round 6 game against Meath in Parnell Park when no crowds were permitted and last year’s Round 2 match versus Kerry in Thurles as punishment for a training ban breach.

The Spring Series arrangement with Croke Park has seen both of the county’s senior teams host opponents at Croke Park, while in recent years games have been double-headers with female league fixtures.

From the inaugural home game in 2011 against then defending league champions Cork up to this year’s Round 6 game against Donegal, Dublin have played 38 AFL round games in Croke Park as the designated home venue and have won 26 of them, drawing five and losing seven.

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