Tipp GAA chiefs to investigate assault on ref Roche

TIPPERARY GAA chiefs are investigating an assault on former All-Ireland SHC final referee Seamus Roche.

Officials are examining claims that Roche was struck after Sunday’s Tipperary SHC semi-final between Toomevara and Thurles-Sarsfields at Semple Stadium.

It is understood that Roche has mentioned the incident in his match report, which was submitted to the Tipperary county board competitions control committee yesterday.

There were stormy scenes after the match, which Sars won with a dramatic injury-time goal from Pa Bourke. Roche awarded a free in stoppage time and there were over two and a half extra minutes played when Bourke netted from 20 metres.

Less than a minute later, 2005 All-Ireland final referee Roche blew the final whistle and there were ugly scenes as a Sars supporter was floored on the pitch after a number of people flooded onto the field.

Sources have indicated that Roche was struck from behind as he attempted to restore order. Members of Roche’s family were present at Semple Stadium and were unnerved after watching the scenes unfold.

It is expected that the perpetrators will be summoned before county board disciplinary chiefs to explain their actions following the chaotic post-match scenes.

The spotlight has already fallen on Tipperary this year following a number of high-profile controversies.

In the South Tipperary division, four matches have been abandoned in 2010, two of them by another former All-Ireland SHC final referee, Willie Barrett.

Last April, Barrett called a halt to the South SHC clash involving Ballingarry and Carrick Davins when he was struck with a hurley by a spectator.

Meanwhile, it is understood that top intercounty referees have been summoned to a seminar in Athlone next week to discuss proposals to improve the standard of umpiring around the country. Another item will be ensuring that they receive greater protection while attempting to carry out their duties on the field of play.


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