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Club Notes: 11th May 2020

posted May 11, 2020, 5:51 PM by Mark Baldwin   [ updated May 11, 2020, 5:52 PM ]
Notaí CLG Tulach an Iarainn sponsored by Goalpost Ireland.

Birthday Greetings: We have three players celebrating birthdays this week. Darah Buckley and Robbie Geary are both twenty one years old and Shaun O'Sullivan is hitting thirty.

President's Address: John Horan spoke eloquently and articulate on the Sunday Game on the playing of games this year. He stated that if social distancing continues there will be no games played. So if you can't shake a mans hand on the street you can't mark him in a game.

Run For Pieta House: The club is organising a twenty four hour run or walk for Pieta House this coming Friday at 7.30pm to the following Saturday 7.30pm. We have over 70 participants at the present and we have decided to set the challenge to cover 500 kilometres in the 24 hour period.We will provide regular updates during the challenge on our Facebook page and Club What's App Group. The target is only a bit of fun so that we have something to aim for. One can follow the link on our Club Facebook and what's app to donate to Pieta House.

Colin Cunningham Interview Part 3 :The final part of the Bubbles interview the first part of of his management underage and the final part is of his time as a referee .

Another good time for me was the involvement with teams in the 96/97 season. The late Seanie Sheehan contacted me to get involved . It was 1996 and he was struggling to get players involved in training teams. I was travelling up from Dungarvan so before senior training I would train an underage team for an hour mainly the under 16 and minor teams. To say in was hard was an understatement as I was doing 12 hour shifts in Dungarvan and trying to play myself and training 2 teams it was lucky I was a single man but you just couldn’t say no to Seanie as Dad was working with him part time and he was a great family friend to us. I went on my first trip with Tallow then up to the north of Ireland to county Tyrone with an under 16 hurling team in the middle of July. It was an experience I will never forget. As you can imagine marching season in July and we were planning to come home from Portadown on the Sunday afternoon but the Garvaghy road in Drumcree which was no go zone in July was next to the train station so we were diverted to Newry to catch a train. The scenes of helicopters flying overhead and army vans flying passed our bus to the station was something we had never witnessed before. We had a great bunch up there helping in Johnny Geary, Tom Doyle Rachael Ryan and of course Seanie. We won the tournament and that was the start of friendship with Finn McCarthy who was a selector and Liam Mulcahy who was living in the north but later moved home to Tallow. We lost the minor western minor A final in 96 with a team if more effort to be honest was put into them would have won that. We made some changes in the background team and got more help in for the 1997 season and won the minor A hurling county beating Mount Sion in the final. The bunch of lads I started with were the likes of James Murray, Shane Glen McCarthy, Seamus Tobin, Sean Slattery, David O'Brien, Shane Finn McCarthy, Barry Power, Mossie O’Brien and Roy Henley. These lads were mad for hurling and were a pleasure to deal with. From that point I got the bug and was involved in many winning teams over a 20-year period. But the best of all is the friendship you make with these players and watching these lads develop to adult grade and hold their own with any team.

So you decided to become a referee . I know at the time we had no referee in the club and Cunny was on the luck out. How did you decide to become a referee?
CC: Firstly I’m now retired again from referring so answering these questions is only going on my past experience.
But I took it up as you said because there was a real shortage so I decided to give it a go. I wasn’t coaching any teams because of shift work commitments so I decided to referee a game once a week to keep the interest going when off. If you don’t have referees you don’t have games. I have a small lad playing under 9 and 10 so when I’m at his games I’m usually the one who gets the job to officiate it.

It's a thankless job for the most part . When things go bad your ridiculed, When things go right there is nothing said. Thoughts on this?
CC: To be honest like players referees want to have a good game also. I would be my own worst critic if I made the wrong decision. I always had Timmy Sheehan one of my umpires anyway to tell me when I was wrong. When driving home I usually go through the game and see did I miss much and was there anything I could have done differently. Some mentors/players will think back when their careers are over why the hell did I abuse that referee and probably regret it. Remember nobody is perfect and everybody makes mistakes. You see with other sports with VAR and a TMO official and still the wrong decisions are made. The referee is there to enforce the rules he didn’t create them.

I always thought the best referees are the ones who speak with the players on their level and not on an authoritative level. To me the best referee in the county and the one destined to go higher is a man who explains the free to the player without shouting him down. How would you describe your attitude in dealing with players?
CC: I was lucky enough to have a good playing career. What upset me as a player was no explanation for a free from the referee just blow the whistle and point in the direction. Communication to the players is one thing I was big on. If you explain it in simple detail and the players are usually happy enough with this. I suppose the main thing I realised when I moved from a player to the official was the amount of rules that are out there. I suppose like most players I never had rule book because we think we know it all. It’s not the ref’s job to explain the rules to the players. The mentors should make sure the players as well as themselves should have a good knowledge of these. I was also very slow to move a ball forward if a player back chatted as id try to explain first the reasoning the free and if they persisted then I would have no choice and to bring it forward. “Conflict is often miss communication”.

Every year Croke Park introduce rules to make it much harder to referee the game. Small infractions that become red cards. If you looked at this years leagues they were destroyed with over fussy refereeing blowing for everything . Surely the referee accessor Willie Barrett has to take all the blame for this? It's either by the book or let it flow. Which or them would you agree with ?
CC: It’s a strange one but since been a referee I now watch a game as if I’m assessing the ref and how did he go. On February last my oldest son was never at Croke Park so while in Dublin I went to the double header there with him. Dublin v Wexford in the hurling and Dublin v Donegal in the football. The hurling game was so stop start and it was so frustrating to watch. I heard afterwards there was a lot of criticism to the referee. To his credit it was a hard game to control. The off the ball antics from both sides was crazy. Mentors and players are no fools and if they get a hint that a ref is whistle happy they will play the game to suite his style of referring and play for frees. If they realise the man in the middle will let it go they play away as what usually happens later on in the championship year! Every year there are trying to improve the game by introducing new rule changes. I have no problem with this if it works but give it time because I hear after 2 weeks this rule has to change its not working. Mentors, players and referees all need “TIME” to adapt to these changes. I think the mark for the forward in football is a great change but the stick it’s getting from mentors is crazy for just not giving it a chance. I’m a big fan of American football and you look at the wide receivers getting millions of dollars each year to field for a touchdown with defence doing everything in their power to stop them. I think a forward in Gaelic football to field a ball at least deserves a kick at goals.

We can blame referees for everything but the players are as much at fault for the ills of the game.Review of the four below and thoughts to combat them.
1 Before if a player was given a free the player dropped the ball and the free was taken . Now they hold the ball or throw it away.

CC: To be honest if I was a mentor, I would tell my players to hold onto the ball until your teammates are set up. If he decides to throw it away then I would penalise him. Remember a free can’t be taken without instruction first from the referee.

2 Sledging : Player takes a shot it goes wide. His opponent roars in his face.
CC: I suppose we have all done it regrettably in our playing careers. It’s a horrible site to see in a game. Again if I was referring I would take action on it.

3 Player gets a little tap and rolls along the ground conning the referee.
CC: As I said above if players realise your whistle happy they will play for a free. Cut it out early in the game by ignoring the antics and you’ll see that it will stop.

4 Game nearly over . A point in it. We will take a football All Ireland for example. Dave Clarke Mayo goes to take a kick out with three of his backs hauled to the ground by Dublin forwards..
CC: Time nearly up in all Ireland most players would do anything for the team to win. Actions like this are discussed in preparation for the game and players know what there are doing. Good Managers read the rules and work them to their team’s advantage knowing what they can get away with. It’s up to Croke Park then in off season to change this.

Are referees in the county accessed and have you been accessed yourself?
CC:Yes referees are assessed at least once each year and yes I have been assessed. Every intercounty game the referee is assessed.

Having retired from hurling not at your fitness peak to now be a marathon and iron man competitor surely if the referees become professional your a cert to get referee inter county with your fitness levels?
CC: In matches I have tracked myself regularly and I have often done between 4.5 and 5.5 miles. It’s all stop start so it’s nearly that amount of miles in sprints which is completely different to long distance running which is one pace for the duration of your run. One Saturday night I reffed Mount Sion v Passage in a senior hurling game in kill. After working at home all day and then travelling down from Tallow. Doing the game which I can tell you was a cracker that ended up in a draw at 0-18 points each I had done 5.4 miles. But the mental strain from concentrating for the 60 plus minutes I was absolutely knackered going home in the car and I was hopping fit at the time from athletics. If I wasn’t at a high level of fitness I wouldn’t be a referee. I have done 9 marathons each one hard but to referee a county final at a high standard and grade is just as hard on the body as a marathon.

Is there a loophole in the GAA disciplinary procedures that allowed appeals when by right there only shown be one?
CC: The report of the referee to be filled out correctly is so important after a game. Any mentor reading this if you get to knock out stage of your championship I would advise you to start videoing games. On appeals without video evidence to argue against the report of the referee you probably wasting your time and effort as I’ve learnt from past experience as been both a mentor and a referee.

How should the GAA entice people to become referees or umpires?
CC: There needs to be a lot work done on getting new referees. You might think I’m mad but you get into it and enjoy it. But dealing with the abuse from mentors and spectators after a game no person should have deal with that. When out on the field you can control the players. The side-lines were the issue for me. Panic from the line brings panic out onto the field and causes more harm than good. What I would do is to clear all side lines for matches of team officials. Put them all up in the stand were available. Hit the clubs hard for discipline. Money talks so fine them. If they have somebody costing them a fortune every year on fines they won’t be long getting rid of them. I have been at games watching fools shouting abuse and all their doing is making a complete clown of themselves. An embarrassment to their club and families. The same people in my eyes would be too cowardly to do the job in the first place if asked and would run. I can tell you refereeing is not an easy job as what I said earlier the ref is trying to have a good game as well as the players out there. Would I encourage friends to be a referee to be honest until something seriously improves from inter county down to club level no I wouldn’t in the current situation. A rule I had I wouldn’t start any game until umpires and whoever is doing the side line is identified. Both of these cause trouble even if only a friendly game is been played. I have seen Tallow matches, league and friendlies started with no umpires and linesman identified and you can always guarantee there will be some trouble before the games finishes. The referee is wrong here. Don’t start the game and wait until filled by both teams. You have enough going on while officiating the game. I had good empires with me for championship games which helped me as I had great trust in them.There are a lot of very good referees out there. One in particular in Waterford who is top of my list is Thomas Tyler Walsh. The Tipperary v cork under 20 Munster final and Tullaroan v Fr O’Neill’s in the club all Ireland as an example were 2 outstanding games. For watching them games as a referee Tyler had a lot to do with them been so good and exciting. He will surely get bigger games this year. A referee can make or break a game.

Would you rather referee adult of underage games?
CC: I mainly did adult games but what I liked about doing juvenile games was spotting good emerging talent coming through the ranks. You see a lot about a player also when you’re out in the field with them and you get to know certain players on how they react to certain situations. I’ll admit I wasn’t the easiest of players to deal with when playing but again as I said earlier sure I knew it all having studied the rules of the games when playing!

To me the dirt is long gone out of the game. Do you think a player on a yellow should get the benefit of the doubt from the referee rather than just throwing out a second yellow?
CC: I’d admit I was very slow to send somebody off. I was sent off once ever “wrongly I may add” and it’s a lonely walk to the line and you feel awful for leaving your team mates down. I’d give you every chance I could when on a yellow and I would often remind the player through the game to take it easy when carded. Most players hate the thought of been sent off and generally regret it afterwards. I have often seen some players go out of a game when put on a yellow card as it effects their game not wanting to be sent off.

I have seen the yellow boots on you . So you want to stand out from the crowd. Surely your bandana from your running and glam metal eighties is only waiting to be sprung for a game?
CC: You try buying a black pair of boots lad. I still have the yellow ones and hopefully for a long time more. More players should use the head band. It would stop the sweat dripping onto your face from under the helmet in summer and also keeping your head warm in winter while playing. I got one for entering a 10 mile road race in Mallow. Firstly, I thought what the hell would I use this for but now they are ideal for training when running and I wear them most times running the road.