‘There is a terrible lack of understanding of the rules’ – GAA calls for more awareness
LEADING HURLING REFEREE Brian Gavin admits that he is ‘amazed’ at times with the lack of understanding of GAA rules.
Brian Gavin during this year’s All-Ireland senior hurling final
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
Offaly native Gavin, who was in charge for this year’s All-Ireland senior hurling final, is hopeful that the new GAA referee handbook which was launched yesterday in Croke Park will help address the knowledge deficit that he believes exists.
“Even though, there is media launches every time there is a rule change, people still don’t seem to grasp it.
“And it is amazing being at football matches, I was at the All-Ireland final replay this year, and you hear people around you shouting out for black cards and you are just wondering what planet they are on.
“There is a terrible lack of understanding of the rules, even from players, would you believe, and managers, at times. If everyone gets this handbook and goes through it, it is a big help.
“The understanding is not out there with the general public and this will definitely help. It is another proper procedure going forward to help with the understanding of the rules.
Referee Brian Gavin with Tipperary’s Brendan Maher and Kilkenny’s Shane Prendergast
Source: James Crombie/INPHO
“The lack of knowledge out there from some players but mostly supporters, well it is frightening when I go to a match and am sitting down in the stand, and I hear these shouts.
“It is disappointing because you would think that people would have a better understanding of rules and they just don’t.
“I even heard someone say once after a player was penalised for two bounces ‘what’s that for? Three catches in hurling is another thing that people don’t know.
“I would have experienced it in Offaly, even having rules tests for referees and you would be frightened by the results.
“When someone sees something with a pen and paper, they get a little bit mixed up but this just clears the pathway, the education is so black and white in it.”
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Brian Gavin (centre) at the launch of The Referees Handbook at Croke Park
Source: Matt Browne/SPORTSFILE
Gavin admits that striving for greater consistency in the application of rules must be a target for GAA referees.
And he specifically referenced criticism of the decisions that referees make early in a game.
A black, yellow or red card is the same in the first minute as in the 71st minute. That’s where it comes back to consistency.
“Sometimes you might try and give the player the benefit of the doubt, whether there’s intent or not, but we’ll never get conistency if we shrug the issue.
“That’s what infuriates managers, spectators, players, so it’s up to us to make sure that whether it’s the first minute or the 71st minute we have to keep doing the same thing.
“Whether it’s the right choice in the player’s mind or not, it’s the rule and it’s what we have to do.
Defender Robbie Kiely is shown a black card by referee David Coldrick
Source: Tommy Grealy/INPHO
“Unfortunately you had a Tipperary footballer this year in the semi-final (Robbie Kiely in the eighth minute) but if it’s a black card it’s a black card, not matter what minute it is.
“That’s the unfortunate part. People think ‘it’s early on, use your common sense’ but that doesn’t work. We definitely won’t have consistency if we applied it that way.”
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