|Posted on 9 April, 2017 at 7:15|
NIALL Carew has called on the GAA to facilitate the provision of specific boxes for management and coaching teams in grounds around the country, similar to what is commonplace in major rugby stadia.
The Sligo manager says that it should be mandatory for team personnel to sit in these boxes, not just because it offers a better vantage point of proceedings, but to avoid heated interaction with the match officials in stressful situations.
In his column in The Sligo Champion, Carew claims that he was told by a linesman at a recent Allianz League game to shut his mouth or risk having a player black carded.
Admitting that he reacted vehemently, Carew asserts that Brendan Egan was black carded soon afterwards even though, he argues, video footage shows no offence to have occurred.
An increasing number of team sitting in the stands but this is not fit for purpose according to Carew, as the proximity to supporters leaves managers and their staff open to abuse.
Carew begins his column by bemoaning a decision to award Galway a point from a shot he felt was clearly wide in Saturday’s Connacht final and thus deny Sligo a first title at this level, with the sides finishing level before Galway took the honours in extra time.
“If I was (manager) Paul Taylor and (selector) John MacPartland Jr, I would feel cheated by a system that fails so regularly and yet there never seems to be any consequences” writes Carew. “If a player, member of management or county board official makes a mistake we are punished by the powers that be and rightly so.
“I am 10 years in inter-county management and not once has an official asked me for a video of a match. So how can they improve if they don't learn from their mistakes?
“When we played Offaly, I questioned the linesman when Criostóir Davey got a full box in the stomach when he was in possession.
“The reply I got was ‘Shut your mouth or he will be given a black card for pulling a player down.’ To be honest my response was not pleasant and 10 seconds later Brendan Egan was awarded a black card for what exactly no one knows because video evidence shows Brendan making no contact.
“The fact is the linesman was punishing me or my team for my reaction hence my decision to go to the stand in Drogheda to view the Louth game (last Sunday). But that's not ideal either because you are a sitting duck as management have no privacy unless the game is in Croke Park. When you’re in the middle of supporters you will be subject to abuse especially if things are not going well. It’s one of the less attractive sides to human nature.
“I would suggest to Croke Park to make it mandatory for management teams to take to the box but they will have to meet counties half-way and provide these boxes in every county ground in the country.
“I personally find it so stressful dealing with officials on match day as there are no guidelines for management to approach them and it's generally at the discretion of each official if he wants to listen or not. In my opinion that's not good practice for anyone and this is an area that needs clarification before championship.”