Kerry GAA referees consider next move as officials probe third abuse incident at under age game

'We met as a committee Monday night and we’re trying to come up with our own plans to see how we’re going to deal with it. Our refs are very close to saying enough is enough'
Kerry GAA referees consider next move as officials probe third abuse incident at under age game

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: 'This is an U13 game, what kind of person goes to an U13 game and takes it upon himself to threaten a referee?” 

KERRY GAA is facing another probe into an under age GAA game being abandoned following an incident Sunday in which threatening language was used towards the referee. It is the third such episode in the county in the last few weeks and occurred in a Castleisland District U13 final between Ballymacelligott and Cordal, played in Castleisland.

The game was abandoned three minutes from the end of extra time after the referee was allegedly threatened by a supporter following a foul. The official deemed the threat serious enough to abandon the game.

Kerry referees chairman Mark Griffin said that the referee in question felt bad for the youngsters but believed he had no choice.

“The referee is disappointed that he was put in a position by this individual where he had to finish a game for 13-year-olds early. He’s feeling pissed off that he had to do it. It wasn’t a decision he took lightly. He didn’t want to do it but he felt he had to do it.

“It’s a supporter. How do you police that? David Gough refs in front of 80,000, he’s not going to deal with supporters. This is an under 13 game, what kind of person goes to an U13 game and takes it upon himself to threaten a referee?” 

There have been suggestions that the referee should have finished the game and dealt with the situation afterwards but Griffin says the referee felt a line had been crossed.

“I genuinely felt he was put in a position where he had to end the game early.” 

This latest incident follows incidents last month in which an U11 hurling game in Abbeydorney - played without keeping score - was abandoned after an official was abusive towards a referee. The Irish Examiner understands that the individual involved has been hit with a proposed 12-week suspension but is intending to appeal.

An U15 football match was also abandoned in September after a mentor was allegedly assaulted on the sideline, with two eight-week suspensions handed out.

Griffin says referees in Kerry are asking when is this going to stop.

“We met as a committee last night (Monday) and we’re trying to come up with our own plans to see how we’re going to deal with it. Our refs are very close to saying enough is enough.

“The clubs need to start acting. The clubs need to start controlling their sidelines, controlling their supporters. Someone needs to tell him he has stepped out of line, and it’s not tolerated. They need to be seen to act before a referee is put in a position where he feels he has to finish a game early.

“The people on the sideline and the people involved in the club need to step up to the plate. If someone threatens a ref you need to say ‘get out of the field, you’re out of order, don’t come back again.’”

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