There were ugly scenes at an under 14’s GAA match in Donegal last weekend.
The match referee had to be locked in his dressing room after angry reactions from supporters led to concerns for his safety.
All-Ireland referee, Brian Gavin, is calling on Croke Park to address the issue of abuse against referees.
He said: “The game has gone up another notch. I just don’t feel in the last five or six years the coaching, the education, the training and the mentoring of referees has got to that level yet.
“So if we’re probably not right at the top, we’re definitely not going to be right at the bottom.
“But Croke Park, I think, has an onus to go to each county and try and sort out the refereeing or try and get people involved.”
Gavin, a four-time All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final referee, he is not shocked by what happened.
He says the issue of abuse against referees is rife: “If it isn’t Donegal, it’ll be another county and that’s the unfortunate part.
“People just think that they can do what they want at GAA matches and they can speak to referees whatever way they want.
“The kids hear this from their managers and collectors and parents, so the thought process of the young lads growing up is they think it’s the normal thing to do.
“So it just escalates then when they become the age.”