If things keep following the trajectory they currently are, we may need missionaries being sent to Carlow to officiate GAA games.
A recruitment drive for referees is a task that never ends, with the call out for referees a constant. We recently caught up with Referee administrator Martin Barry about the struggles facing Carlow GAA when it comes to getting their games appropriately officiated.
“It is nearly impossible at the moment. We are stuck with a core of 23 or 24 refs, and it is very very hard to manage with that. We need to train up new referees, some have been at it for a very very long time.”
“We can’t afford to lose any referees. If we lose one even, especially a top-of-the-range ref, it can be very hard.”
“Recruitment has been going on for a few years, but we have not been making great progress. We haven’t had new referees coming on stream for a couple of years, unfortunately. You need four or five every year, to keep up the numbers. If we train them this year they would only be doing under 11 or 13 at the moment. it takes about three years for a referee to come through the system.”
Give Respect, Get Respect.
A mantra that all referees hope is abided by everytime they walk out on the pitch. As we all know that is not always case, unfortunately. Carlow has expanded on their Be Sound Be Silent scheme from under 11 to other youth grades. The Be Sound Be Silent scheme is an initiative designed to tackle sideline abuse at games in a positive, innovative way. This obviously expands to referees, one of the most abused when it comes to games within the GAA.
“The abuse that comes in from the line from mentors and spectators, particularly at underage level is beyond belief. Some of the team managers think they are playing an All Ireland Final. They think it is quite acceptable to abuse a referee and calm him every name under the sun. Parents can be tough on refs aswell. It is not easy.”
Give respect, get respect goes both ways obviously. The abuse and high pressure of the situation can often be forgotten by most. Referees often have to be quite stern when it comes to interactions with other members and stand by their decision. Martin believes even something like printing out the handbook will help referees cope with the high-pressure situation even more.
“Croke Park has not printed a rulebook since 2017, and I think they need one. Most of the top referees will tell you before a match, they will have a look at the book. They do not print them out though, we train referees and tell them we do not have a book to give you.”
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Listen to the full interview on Socreline Extra below :