Former referee Dave Meier dissects the big decisions in the League of Ireland from the last few weeks. Bohemians fans look away now.
As we come very close to the end of this season’s Airtricity League, things are hotting up, and nerves will be kicking in for the clubs going for trophies and those less fortunate who are fighting relegation.
The match officials will be making sure their game is fine tuned so as to make sure big decisions will be given in the right direction and managers won’t be able to point the finger so as to cover up their own tactical errors.With that in mind I would like to lay out below two issues that have occurred over the past few weeks and where referees have come in for abuse and ridicule.
Firstly I would like to take every one back to the night that referee Tom Connolly called off the Dublin derby between Bohemians and Shamrock Rovers.The reason given was that the pitch was unplayable. I got news about this by text and was astonished to hear that in the middle of one of the best summers this country has ever had that a pitch had been deemed unplayable.
I actually thought at the time that there had been a mad downpour in Phibsboro and the pitch had been saturated.Well how wrong was I?
When I found out the reason behind the postponement I had to step back and takea look at what I was reading on my phone. Everyone knows now that it was called off because the penalty spot at one end of Dalymount was deemed unplayable. The decision by Tommy to put a halt to the evenings proceedings was totally correct.
The amount of crap that Tommy had to listen to over the following few days in the media was unjust and the blame in my opinion lays squarely at Bohemians Football Club’s door. Why the bloody hell did they even try to repair the pitch when according to the groundsman it would take up to a week to knit and be okay again?
To say it was amateurish is an understatement. This game was to be Bohemian’s last game for at least ten days and would it not have been better to leave the penalty spot alone until the game was over and then get it ready for their next home game?
The utmost focus in Tommy’s mind had to be the safety for the players and I agree having seen photos that the penalty spot was in no way safe. So well done Tommy on making an excellent decision and for those people who have criticised him hang your head in shame and take a look at Bohemians’ part in all of this.
One other issue I want to look at this week is the treatment of Neil Doyle by UCD manager Aaron Callaghan in the recent game between his side and Bray. Callaghan lost the plot over a few ‘dodgy’ decisions that had been given by Neil. Mind you, dodgy decisions according to Aaron.
I saw the game and thought Neil had an excellent performance. What you have to keep in mind here is the fact UCD lost the game and Callaghan decided to single out the referee for a rant. In the press he said he was passionate about the game and this was the reason he lost it with the referee. I do not know how many times over the years that managers have abused referees and then hidden behind the excuse of being passionate.
In my opinion it’s thuggery and the FAI should become very passionate with dealing with these guys and give them big fines and a few weeks in the stands to help them reflect on the way they have behaved.
Before I go I would like to look at the Shelbourne v St.Pat’s game last Monday, but not so much at the game itself but the performance of assistant referee Ciaran Delaney. Mr.Delaney is around now a long time and I personally thought he was really on his game on Monday night. If anybody wanted to see how to assist a referee all they had to do was watch this man’s performance on the night.
He was on his toes from start to finish and I thought he got every call spot on. As a referee, a good assistant is worth is weight in gold and the shift he put in was magical. I am heading to see Drogheda in the cup this weekend and I always say if you are going to shout at anyone do not shout at the referee as you might never know if it is me touching you on the shoulder or not.
Until next week enjoy your football guys.
Dave Meier, Pundit Arena.