A view from the sidelines


By Deniese O’Flaherty

Last Saturday evening I sat down to watch the Leinster Senior Club Final between Kilmacud Crokes and Naas. People in Granard had a particular interest in the game because it was being refereed by our clubman Patrick Maguire.
Patrick is an excellent referee and he had a great game but great credit must go to the two teams. If two teams are committed to playing the game to the best of their ability and without too much contention it’s always easy for the match officials.
The same can be said about Padraig Pearses and Knockmore on Sunday in the Connacht Senior Club Final. It made the job easy for referee James Molloy. A huge well done to Pearses on their first provincial title. One of my college friends is a proud Pearses woman and I was delighted for Louisa and the people involved in the club who have seen plenty of bad days but are now enjoying good ones.
Over the last while so much was made about referees. The abuse they’ve had to endure has been terrible. They deserve the utmost respect but they should also be criticised constructively.
I’ve seen plenty of instances in sporting games where referees have made blatant mistakes. These mistakes and decisions have cost teams dearly. Some referees have agendas and that’s not good for the integrity of the game.
We need to work together when it comes to games; officials, players, management teams and supporters. Without referees games can’t be played but players are just as important to the game and they deserve the game to be officiated in the right way.
It’s a tough job being a referee and I’ve found myself asking the question “who’d want to be a referee?” Now wouldn’t it be nice to say “who wouldn’t want to be a referee?” It’s something we should all work towards.

Another Irish player made the move across the water this week as Sligo Rovers Johnny Kenny moved to Celtic. I saw a lot of pessimistic comments about the signing from people who obviously haven’t seen Johnny play. Being a League of Ireland supporter I was lucky to see this extremely talented youngster light up the league and in doing so earned his move to Celtic.
Kenny had a wonderful season last year, while studying for his Leaving Cert too. He has everything going for him but the quality I like most is his modesty. He is not going to break into the first team straight away but there is no doubt he will work hard to achieve his dreams because he has the talent. I look forward to following his career.
League of Ireland supporters love the league and are loyal to its players. We love to see success stories across the water. There are plenty of former League of Ireland players there now to keep us occupied.