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01st Oct 2022

Players and mentors line up to shake referee’s hand as ‘Respect the ref’ kicks off in Wexford

Niall McIntyre

The first of many ‘Respect the ref’ initiatives took place in Wexford on Friday night, before the senior football quarter final clash between Shelmaliers and Rapparees.

Both sets of players and mentors lined up to shake referee Jimmy Heavey’s hand and to wish him well before the game. This ‘Give Respect, get Respect handshake’ comes on the back of a recent barrage of incidents, as the GAA looks to improve its treatment of referees.

In this sense, and with one of the incidents having taken place within the county, Wexford GAA have taken the lead on the issue, with the county holding a meeting with its referees during the week.

The meeting was held between the referees, the referees administration committee and the Wexford county executive at Chadwicks Wexford Park during the week, with its purpose “to discuss the promotion of good discipline and the protection of referees.”

One of the main proposals made in the meeting was to remove the current 96-week maximum term of suspension for verbal or physical threat to an official, and introduce debarment and/or expulsion from the GAA as penalties that may be considered. Other initiatives, such as this ‘give respect, get respect’ handshake were also discussed.

“It might be the first example of a new trend in GAA throughout the country,” said the Wexford GAA tv commentator Peter Mernagh.

On the pitch, it was a comfortable win for the two-in-a-row seeking champs Shelmaliers, who defeated the Rapps by 3-11 to 0-5. Brian Malone, as ever, played a key role for his club, who were only narrowly beaten by Naas in last year’s Leinster semi-final. They will surely have aims to go one step further this year, and the addition of Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara will certainly do them no harm.


Wexford GAA