Weeks after an incident that left referee Kevin Naughton in Roscommon needing overnight hospital care, there were a number of violent incidents at club GAA matches across the country this weekend.
The most notable is an alleged assault of a referee in a Wexford club match. The incident happened in a Wexford Junior A Football match between St Joseph's and Our Lady's Island on Sunday morning. The referee was allegedly assaulted at the end of the match.
Following the incident, Wexford GAA released the following statement:
Wexford GAA are disappointed that such an incident arose and strongly condemn any threatening or abusive behavior towards match officials.
Wexford County Board chairman Michael Martin told RTÉ that the injuries were not serious.
"The positive news is that there is no serious issue," he said. "He is shaken, obviously, [but] is recovering at home," he said.
Martin told the programme that matches are occasionally canceled in the county due to a shortage of referees.
"We have had a number of serious incidents, potentially less serious than [Sunday’s], and they have been dealt with severely by with our disciplinary committee but the fact that you have to deal with them in the first instance is very disappointing and it’s one that we are constantly reminding clubs of.
"I think there has been an erosion in the respect for authority and decision-makers at all levels in society in the last 10 years. The GAA is a reflection of society.
Wexford GAA also stated that its CCC is currently investigating the incident and that they will support any Garda inquiries into the matter. They would also like to wish the match officials a "speedy recovery".
Mayo Minor Match Abandoned
Mayo GAA also had to release a statement regarding an incident in one of their games. An U17 club semifinal had to be abandoned due to an incident between an adult non-player and a player.
Mayo GAA released a short statement this morning saying that they are "aware" of an incident in the game between Westport and Castlebar Mitchels on Sunday evening and that they are waiting for the official referee's report.
These are the latest in a string of incidents at club matches nationwide. Just a month before, Roscommon GAA proposed a 96-week ban to an individual after an incident with a referee at a club match.
The incident occurred at a minor championship match between St Aidan's and St Dominic's. The referee was injured after an exchange with the individual and the match was abandoned as a result. Furthermore, all referees in Roscommon went on a strike the following weekend.
With the alarming rise in violent incidents between referees and players, it is likely will we see more of harsh bans from the GAA to discourage such behaviour.