As I was leafing through Hugh Lynn’s new book, I mean programme, last Sunday in Kiltoom, I came across an enticing add on page 90. ‘Put your whistle where your mouth is’ and ‘become a GAA referee’, it screamed.
What went on in the following 70 minutes probably didn’t do much to assist the latest referee drive. It took a brave man like Paul Daly to keep control of an occasion, which was always going to be volatile.
I have only admiration for Daly who just two years ago came through a kidney transplant operation. After something like that, surely Curran and Dolan are child’s play!
Speaking of Shane Curran and Frankie Dolan, they didn’t exactly make it easy on the Strokestown whistler. Curran had a go at half-time while Daly’s heart must have sunk when he saw the bould Dolan limbering up in the closing stages. In spite of these challenges, Daly did quite well, particularly in a second half which was end-to-end.
For that second half, I was standing quite close to some Pádraig Pearses supporters, who of course felt aggrieved with certain decisions. They felt that Daly was giving too many ‘soft’ frees to Brigid’s and that the penalty awarded to Senan Kilbride was outside the box. I had a better view and the same amount of replays Daly had and I would’ve given it inside too.
The moral of the story is that the referee will feel the wrath of somebody every weekend. The add in the programme is a great message but it’s still easier for those Pearses fans to blame Daly than to look at their own team’s failings or Brigid’s’ good points. And let’s be honest, it’s difficult to keep a lid on frustration in the heat of the moment and the man in the middle is always an easy target!