Referees can’t handle workload, says Evans

Roscommon manager John Evans claims there are only six inter-county Gaelic football referees capable of handling what he believes are the massive workloads currently placed on them.

Evans was livid with some of referee Niall Cullen’s officiating in the county’s Division 3 home defeat to Meath last weekend.

The Kerry native criticised the Fermanagh official afterwards for not awarding Roscommon a free for a push by a Meath player in the build-up to the visitors’ first goal.

While he says a half a dozen referees can handle games properly, he argues none of them will be able to negotiate the Football Review Committee’s (FRC) black card proposal should it be passed by Congress in Derry next week.

“More cards are going to put work on referees that are barely able to cope,” said Evans. “In fact, I can count only about six referees who are coping properly with the amount of workload they have already.

“I do have sympathy for referees but it’s only the very experienced referees that are able to get able to handle the workload they have at the moment. If you put extra workload on even those six referees, they certainly won’t be able to cope with extra cards and extra definitions. It’s not going to work.”

Evans is all for measures such as the mark and penalising players for obstructing frees by bringing the ball forward 30 metres.

However, he is concerned referees won’t carry out the latter rule should it come into force as he maintains they are currently not punishing those who attempt to slow up the play.

“The referees aren’t implementing the rules. We watched players standing in front of the ball and referees did nothing at all about it.

“The last day, we had Michael Finneran rising for the ball coming down and four or five guys around him. A free [was given] against him for overcarrying.

“The mark has to be brought in to protect the guy who is able to field a ball, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt.”

Three days after the one-point loss to Meath, Evans is still fuming with the decisions that went against Roscommon. At half-time, he admitted he waited until referee Cullen was off the pitch to air his dissatisfaction because the crowd were “very agitated with him”.

Evans stated: “I’m not going to give out about referees and that but there were a couple of blatant decisions that went against me the last day and that’s going to happen from game to game.

“Referees have a lot to take on board and a lot to take in. Trying to put another card on them, I’ll tell you the FRC should be going to some of these games because some of the referees are barely able to cope with the workload that is on them already.

“They’re barely able to cope with it and some of them are not able to cope with it. That’s just a fact of life.”

The former Tipperary manager and Meath coach also queried why a seasoned referee such as Cork’s Michael Collins was stationed as a linesman.

“I can’t understand the logic of it and it is something that completely baffles me. Michael Collins was brought all the way from Cork and put him, an experienced referee, in as a linesman in Dr Hyde Park. Can you answer the logic of that, and then putting an inexperienced referee in charge of the game?

“These are tight games with tight calls and marginal calls. We’ve no problem with referees — they do make mistakes — but jeepers, not as blatantly obvious as the mistakes made. We had one young player who was blatantly pushed on his back out over the sideline near the goals and nothing done about it [before Meath’s second goal].

“Why didn’t they get a Galway linesman? Why are we doing bringing Michael Collins all the way up from Cork to do linesman? They’re talking about cutting costs and then something like this crops up!”

Evans appreciates new inter-county referees have to cut their teeth somewhere but stresses it shouldn’t be in such games as last Sunday’s in Roscommon town.

“That’s not the place to be giving a referee his baptism.”


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