After a torrent of awful incidents involving referees in the GAA in recent weeks, a brilliant new initiative was introduced at a Wexford club game on Friday night.
Ahead of the senior championship clash between the terrifically named Shelmaliers and Starlights, the players shook hands with the referee and the match officials as a mark of the "Give Respect, Get Respect" campaign.
It was the perfect way to respond to the wave of abuse against referees.
Wexford GAA: Brilliant new handshake routine introduced
The Wexford GAA SFC quarter final between Shelmaliers and Starlights on Friday night saw a nice moment ahead of throw-in, as the two teams shook hands with the match officials as a mark of respect.
Before last night's game in the Wexford SFC between Shelmaliers and Starlights, a handshake with the referee and officialspic.twitter.com/udcjob49aD
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) October 1, 2022
There have been a number of shocking incidents up and down the country in recent weeks of referees being assaulted on the pitch.
One of those incidents came at a Wexford junior club match between St Joseph's and Our Lady's Island last weekend, and Wexford GAA strongly condemned the actions of those involved.
An investigation was launched by the county board alongside the Gardaí, and county board chairman Michael Martin revealed that Wexford GAA often struggle with referee shortages. He spoke out strongly against those involved in incidents of assault:
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.
Similar incidents have taken place in Roscommon and Mayo in recent weeks, and concerns have been raised about the safety of referees on the pitch during club GAA matches.
Earlier this week, referees within Wexford held a "very constructive" meeting with the county board to address the issues.
The gesture at the Wexford club championship game was a small one, but a meaningful one nonetheless. Shelmalier would go on to claim victory, and progress to the county semi-finals.