It’s fair to say referee’s take their fair share of criticism, particularly in Gaelic Games.
Some of the time it’s merited, but a lot of the time it can be uncalled for.
I personally wouldn’t do the job, because you are always just one blow of the whistle away from being called a f**cking idiot.
On Tuesday night I saw something very refreshing.
I was at a Carlow Senior Football League Division 3 game at Ballinaboley between Leighlinbridge – who I am involved with – and Tinryland.
On the Carlow GAA fixtures section online I noticed that a fella by the name of Frankie Fitzpatrick was down to referee the game and to be quite honest I hadn’t really heard too much about him and had never seen him do a game before.
Before the game commenced he called our lads in together and went through a few things.
He basically told our lads that the whistle would only be blown against us if we did something that merited it and if not then it would be staying in his pocket.
He also explained that he was willing to let the game progress and spoke to our lads on a human level rather down making it seem like it was going to be a concentration camp.
At Half time he then came over to me to explain that he had made an error during the first half when he awarded one of our lads a free in a moment that he described as a “brain fart.”
He said that the tackle wasn’t within the letter of the law and demonstrated the right way of doing it in order to correct it.
This sort of approach and feedback is a welcome sight in the GAA and its great to see a referee talking to players and Management on a human level.
There are referee’s out there who have officiated All Ireland Final’s that don’t communicate with players and let the authority and the role get to their head, but the best referee’s will always interact with everyone in a most natural way.
Kudo’s to Frankie Fitzpatrick and hopefully we see more of this from our Officials in the future.