BY CHRIS MCNULTY
EIGHT of Donegal’s 40 GAA clubs are without an active referee at present and have been urged to get their respective houses in order.
Referee’s Administrator Pat Walsh reported that he has 55 whistlers under his watch.
However, the Bundoran man has appealed for the eight clubs without a referee – Na Rossa, St Naul’s, Naomh Brid, Pettigo, Milford, Setanta, Robert Emmets and Lifford – to embark on a recruitment drive.
“I must stress the importance of recruiting referees within your own club,” he said in his annual report.
“Within the county we need new blood coming through every year. I would stress to all clubs that even have a referee that they need to be doing their games. We do not want to have phantom referees put on the nomination forms this year.”
Walsh reported that he had just eight new recruits to his panel in 2014, something he noted was a ‘disappointment’.
He said: “This situation has become a concern and those clubs who currently do not provide any referees will have to rectify this void in their clubs. Clubs have a responsibility and hopefully the County Board may come on board and sanction clubs if this doesn’t happen.”
Walsh said his group was targeting ‘players who have just retired and also young 18- to 25-year-old lads who would get involved at youth level’ and confirmed that he has taken on two new referees’ assessors, Packie McDyre and Eugene McHale.
Meanwhile, Walsh touched on the controversial Donegal SFC semi-final between Naomh Conaill and Glenswilly that saw Naomh Conaill take an appeal to Croke Park. Glenswilly’s Ciaran Bonner was black carded after being booked earlier in the game, but a replacement was permitted by referee Jimmy White and the substitute, Oisin Crawford, scored a point in Glenswilly’s win.
Walsh said: “I would remind you that all referees are human and can make mistakes.
“The black card was our new challenge for players, managers and referees. I have every confidence that the referees will continue to apply the rules as instructed and I hope that players and managers will meet the task with a positive mindset.”