More GAA Shame

It’s a pure money grab and a piss poor one at that.

It’s ill judged and mean spirited. They’ll get no luck.

Honest to fuck like, what’s the point of that!?



‘Yerrah Cork built a white elephant, we may build one now’


Somebody’s goin to make a fortune on that

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II Dail 1 TB_3


It’s insanity,the tax payer will ultimately pick up the tab when it goes tits up and way over budget

Fitzgerald Stadium hasn’t been full since I’d say the 2000’s. It only got a new terracing at the start of this decade. It’s most certainly not ramshackle. Alright, the main stand probably looks old, sure all it needs is a bit of fixing up? €72million, right in the corner of the country??? Idiots down there.

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Angling for a bit of Rogby action…

FFS rugby will be dead as a sport in 10 years,tag rugby will be the only thing available

If anyone has an Indo subscription, I’d appreciate a copy & paste here please.

Michael Verney
October 29 2022 02:30 AM
John Keenan was slowly making his way off the pitch in Hollywood seven years ago when he got “absolutely walloped” with a head-butt out of nowhere from a disgruntled club supporter.

Keenan had just taken charge of a Wicklow intermediate football clash derby between Baltinglass and Stratford-Grangecon as he ambled back to his dressing-room before being left reeling with a bloodied nose to show for his efforts.

The game had passed “without a peep” so it was the last thing that the inter-county whistler expected, and it’s not something which he will forget any time soon, if ever.

“There wasn’t a peep in the game, but coming off, there was a game coming on for a double-header after me so the other two teams were coming out and there was the one gate onto the pitch. So I just stood back and let the two teams out,” Keenan tells the Irish Independent.

“You sort of know yourself if there’s going to be a little bit of hassle after a game, if there’s a bit of noise afterwards.

“I’ll always wait for the umpires if I think there’ll be anything like that but this time I walked off on my own because not a peep had happened,” he adds.

“And then a fella walked towards me, I just thought he was walking out onto the pitch with the other two teams after me so I just moved to my left or right and he sort of stepped out in front of me and I said ‘Sorry there’.

“And he just absolutely walloped me, he stuck the head in me. He didn’t put me to the ground but he shook me and I went down on my knee and got myself together. He then belted off into his car and flew out the gate.”

The referee’s report eventually led to the perpetrator being banned for 96 weeks, but Keenan doesn’t feel that such punishment fits the crime and he is adamant that there will soon be no referees if such behaviour is not treated with zero-tolerance.

“They got him afterwards. He got a ban for two years, which is another gripe of mine. I think they’re trying to push that out at Congress and I think that anyone who assaults a referee should get a lifetime ban. It should be a lifetime ban,” he states without any hesitation.

“If that was a young referee coming off after a game starting out in their career, they’d probably pack it in and you won’t have too many people doing it if they’re reading about that kind of stuff, and that’s where we’re at right now.

“It’s very, very hard to try coax youngsters and people that are deciding after they finish playing to get involved in refereeing already, but if they’re reading that type of thing in the papers, as they have recently, they won’t come down this line too easy.”

Such an incident would have deterred many, but Keenan quickly dusted himself off. He stepped down for the following day’s action before picking up the whistle again the next weekend and he hasn’t looked back since with a string of high-profile games under his belt.

“I was shook for a few days and thinking ‘is this worth it?’ but I got back on the horse and things have progressed rather nicely after that,” he says before revealing that “the thickest of skins is required to thrive as a referee”.

“As you get more experience, it (the abuse) might not affect you too much and certainly as my career has progressed, the amount of it I hear is very little and I think over the past number of years it has diminished greatly to when I started off.”

Keenan, who gave two seasons with the Wicklow hurlers as well as a year with the footballers during his playing days, is not long back from Down Under having been the man in the middle for several matches at the AustralAsia GAA Championships in Melbourne.

That is a rare perk of the job, however, and the Aughrim clubman insists that a love of the GAA must be your main motivator or “you shouldn’t be doing it” as “there’s no financial gain”.

“I’d be in work on a Monday and the lads would be like ‘You’re after making a fortune yesterday driving up to Belfast’ I say ‘Lads, I’m surely not’. We get our mileage and we get our meal allowance, you don’t get a match fee for it,” he says.

“I’ll buy the lads (umpires Paul Reville, David Clune, Tommy Redmond and Eddie Leonard) their dinner and I’ll get the receipt and claim it back and the mileage. That’s all we get on the day. I’m in it because I love it and not for any other reason.”

Respect the Referee Day was placed front and centre by the GAA earlier this month after a string of high-profile incidents involving officials around the country, but Keenan looks at club and county as “two different worlds” with inter-county “a pleasure to be involved in”.

The club game can be a different story altogether, though, as recent events in Roscommon, Mayo, Kerry and elsewhere across the country have clearly highlighted.

“The things going on at club level are not nice to see. Adult level is not too bad, it’s usually at juvenile level that it’s at its worst. I think refereeing in general, is it a tough gig? It’s a tough gig if you want it to be.

“You have to put the work in and get to know the game and how to referee it. The rules are there to be abided by but you don’t have to be from a strong hurling county to thrive, just know the game, know the rules and work hard at it.”

Keenan feels it “helps massively” that he and many other top referees have played hurling or football to a decent level as they understand a player’s concerns all too well.

He also feels that limiting the numbers permitted on the sidelines could be a game-changer when it comes to rectifying indiscipline in the GAA.

Keenan, who took charge of the Wicklow SFC final earlier this month, believes that the abolishment of the ‘maor foirne’ (runner) has “made our lives a little bit easier” and he feels that similar restrictions need to be imposed at club level.

“A manager, coach and a medic are plenty on the sideline. They have done it this year with the inter-county, but the inter-county is not the worst of them because they’re well in tune with the game,” he says.

“You go to club games and you could have 10 or 12 lads on a sideline. I won’t say that’s intimidating but if you have young referees coming along doing games and you see all these people on the line, it can be.

“No matter when you blow the whistle in a match, there’s 50 per cent of people going to disagree with the decision anyway. That’s just human nature.

“If they could bring it in to club level that you have a maximum of three on the line, that would be something I’d love to see.”

Given his day job in the Coca-Cola plant in Wexford, Keenan was the perfect candidate to cope with the fizz of this year’s Munster SHC final and he deservedly received massive kudos for playing his part in an
all-time classic between Limerick and Clare.

“As Barry Kelly always said to me ‘You’re not a spectator, you’re there to do a job’. That always stuck in my mind. I was buzzing when I got the call the week before and Limerick and Clare went at it from the get-go that day. Did anyone step over the line? No,” he says.

“The players hurled away and I thought they were excellent on the day. We’d a couple of things that we didn’t see on the day, but these things happen.

“I enjoyed every moment of it and during the game you can sense the buzz, the crowd, the scores, it was fantastic to be involved in it.”

Having left Aughrim at 9.30 in the morning, Keenan arrived home in Wicklow some 14 hours later at 11.20pm and he was “buzzing” before meeting up with a couple of buddies to celebrate a job well done.

His mood changed somewhat when later watching back ‘The Sunday Game’, however, as two different incidents which led to bans for the Clare duo of Rory Hayes and Peter Duggan – both subsequently overturned – were highlighted.

“You’re kind of like ‘Jesus, did those incidents happen?’ because genuinely on the day and in real time people who were watching it on television, they weren’t picked up.

“Unfortunately, we don’t get the second chance, we just judge it as we see it. You’d like to pick those things up but the game was going a million miles an hour.”

Having been viewed by many as a potential All-Ireland SHC final referee in the aftermath of that provincial thriller, Keenan suddenly found himself out in the cold without another inter-county game for the remainder of the year.

“Not to be involved afterward was very disappointing, I won’t lie,” he says.

“The people who did the games afterwards were well deserved, though.

“We all work hard, we all put in the same effort and train hard, you need things to go well for you.

“Anyone else that went out afterwards in the year deserved their appointments. I was a bit disappointed not to be involved after the Munster final, but that’s the joys of it all.”

Given that he turns 50 next year, Keenan will no longer be permitted to referee at inter-county level beyond 2023 due to age restrictions as his window of opportunity to join fellow Wicklow men Jimmy Hatton and Eamonn ‘Fitch’ Moules as All-Ireland senior final referees closes in. Hatton famously refereed both the hurling and football deciders in 1966 while Moules officiated in the first televised senior football final four years previous and Keenan would love to follow in their footsteps.

“I’ve every one of them (All-Ireland finals) done except the senior one and I’d love to do it.

“I’ve only the one year left and I’ll go hell for leather at it again next year and if it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

“It’s like when you’re playing, if you’re at club level you want to play in your county final. If you’re at county level, you want to play in your All-Ireland.

“Sure refereeing is the same. You want to referee at the highest level that you can get to.”

Given the scarcity of top-class referees in both codes, it seems absurd to lose someone like Keenan as he hits his peak but he doesn’t envisage any change in that regard.

“I’d have no issue if they let it go to 52 or 53, once you’re getting up and down the pitch like you always did and you’re doing your fitness tests and you’re performing. We’re assessed every game,” the 49-year-old says.

“If your assessments are coming back good and you’re getting through the fitness tests, I don’t see why there should be any issue with a referee going until they are 52 or 53. That’s my own personal opinion, but it’s not going to change.”

Keenan has serious passion for his craft and he has no problem admitting that life simply won’t be the same when the time comes to hang up his whistle.

“I’d often come home here in the evening and my wife (Annette) would say ‘Jesus is it worth it?’ and it is because I love it.

“I’ll miss it terribly after next year to be honest,” he says.


A real come and get me plea there ahead of next years all Ireland final


Isn’t it better to put it out there than spend the next 20 years moaning about never getting it in true Irish fashion …

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I wouldn’t have put 49 on him he’s in decent shape in fairness.

I was talking to an engineer the other day who told me he had worked on several large council gigs with the HR crew recently.

He said they were excellent. Plenty men, on time, knew what they were doing and delivered what was expected. He also said they were 100% on the ball re the contract. Got paid for every little extra and invoiced as soon as they could consistently. He said he would definitely recommend them

Good interview. I’d 100% agree you assault a ref you should never be let in the gate of a club again. And it shouldnt take the GAA to decide it

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