Top GAA referee David Gough has revealed the only moment in which he was scared after taking charge of a match.
Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland he said, ” I was scared once, in an All-Ireland semi-final in 2016 when I made a mistake and walked off the pitch not knowing I had made a mistake.
“I would say on that day there was a lot of abuse thrown at me as I was walking off and that was scary as I didn’t understand why there was such language being thrown at me,”
The abuse was as a result of a free late in the game not awarded to Kerry by Gough in the game between Dublin which would have levelled the game.
Dublin went on to win by 2 points, Gough subsequently admitted he had not seen the foul and if he had would have awarded the free.
The Slane official was on the show to react to claims from Fine Gael TD and former Mayo footballer, Alan Dillon, that GAA referees receive as much, if not more abuse, from coaches and fans as their soccer counterparts, who recently went on strike over the issue.
Talking to Meath Live afterwards Gough said, ‘ From my first day as a ref I reported every bit of abuse I got and the word soon went out that David Gough didn’t take abuse with the result I rarely experience any now.
‘I suppose that day in Croke Park was as puzzling as it was scary because at that point I genuinely hadn’t a clue that I had made a mistake.’
He had earlier told the RTE programme, he supported the FAI referees stance to escalate to a strike event in the case of the Dublin underage leagues in recent weeks due to the abuse being suffered.
“We’re all volunteers, no one is making money from this. We’re not out there to ruin games but only to facilitate them and ensure teams have a fair opportunity to win.
“A hugely positive move at underage GAA games is the silent sideline whereby management can only shout words of encouragement aimed to their players. “This has resulted in very little abuse of officials in underage games in Meath, Mr Gough said.