The Donegal League disciplinary secretary warned clubs that bookings were at an all-time high this season.
Terry Leyden said a record 1,149 yellow cards were dished out over the course of the season, a figure up 73 on last year. There were 80 bookings that led to 71 suspensions, while 80 players were suspended for reaching four yellow cards and two more for hitting eight cautions.
Eight players lined out this season despite being under suspension and 35 will miss the kick-off to the 2012/13 campaign due to bans received last term.
“My impression of the season was a real wake-up call to all of us to how we need to play the game and administer justice,” he said. “This is food for thought for us all.”
Leyden’s age-old complaints over referee’s cards not being signed by secretaries, managers or the players themselves, too much abuse of match officials and club facilities not being up to scratch popped their head up again.
“The new facilities inspector Ed Moore will be out and about,” Leyden continued. “You have been warned and if you’re facilities are not up to standard you face the possibility of having your pitch closed and having to play all your games away from home.”
Leyden also pointed out the clubs who wish to stake a protest can contact the league secretary or registrar for guidance as too many cases were being thrown out as a result of incomplete paper work.
“The copy of the protest must be identical to the letter sent to the league and always by registered post within 72 hours,” he said. Leyden congratulated Arranmore United on winning the Ben Daly Memorial Trophy for the best behaved team. Their total fines for the season was just €32 for obtaining 16 cautions, no red cards and no suspensions for a player reaching four yellows, whilst not picking up any other fines.
Other teams who behaved themselves credibly over the season were didn’t get a single player sent off all season were Downtown United, Erne Wanderers, Keadue Rovers, Mulroy Celtic, Ramelton Mariners, Raphoe Town and Tullyvinny Rovers.
On the other hand, Lifford Celtic had eight sendings off, Curragh Athletic and Castlefin Celtic picked up five red cards apiece and Bonagee United, Cappry Rovers, Convoy Arsenal, Copany Rovers and Dunlewey Celtic got four dismissals. However, it was noted that figures for clubs that have respective teams in both Saturday and Sunday leagues receive a combined total.
Marty McGarrigle was the busiest referee all season, whipping out 72 yellow and nine reds over the course of the campaign. Vincent McLoughlin produced 60 cautions and 10 dismissals, while Ed Moore gave 62 bookings and eight sendings off.
Redican explains rule changes
The Donegal area of the ISRS (Irish Soccer Referees’ Society) explained two rule changes that will come into effect from July 1 at Monday night’s Donegal League AGM.
Aidan Redican informed clubs that player who wishes to wear tape on outside of their socks must ensure the tape matches the sock. Also, if an attacked kicks the ball into the goal in an uncontested bounce ball following a player being injured, the referee must award the defending team a goal kick. Should a defender kick the ball into his own net in a similar instance, a corner kick should be awarded to the attacking side.
Redican also encouraged clubs to use the officials complaints channel if they so wished. Clubs were informed to write to the secretary of the Donegal League and he would obtain a copy of that. “Complaints will not be held against a club,” he added.
The FAI also informed referees at a seminar to be vigilant in terms of racism and any matter arising would be dealt with. Redican also mentioned an alleged racist comment in “another league in Donegal,” which turned out to be untrue.
Joe McHugh congratulated Redican on his election to the national referees’ committee, where Bernard Foy is currently chairman. McHugh also spoke about two assaults on referees, one in the
Donegal League where a Lifford Celtic player got a 12-month ban and another in the Inishowen League.
“I’d like to acknowledge the strong discipline shown by the league in dealing with this matter,” he said.
PRO tells clubs to clean up their act
Donegal League PRO Gary Foy pleaded for clubs to clean up their match reports and to make sure they were sent to him on time.
Foy said it takes four to five hours every weekend to edit the submitted match reports and urged clubs to try and make the process a smoother one.
“Clubs must try and send reports in a reasonable state,” he said. “Most clubs are fine but there were some patterns emerging at the end of the season. They don’t have to be overly long. Accuracy is more important as some come with no capital letters or full stops. Also, no reports on text message please. A simple email is what I want.
“Forty-four clubs were fine this season. We have a 6pm Sunday deadline and I let at least another 100 off with reports coming in by 6.45pm. I have to have the reports in on time as it causes a bad relationship between the media and I. They have deadlines.
“I’d also like clubs not to question any particular refereeing decisions in a game. If a member of the media are present at a match and they decide to have an opinion that’s fine because they are independent. A club official doing a match report will only give his team’s opinion.”
Foy reminded club that the 40th anniversary book is being put together and every club must submit a piece on themselves. In an amendment later in the evening, it was agreed that clubs with teams in the Saturday leagues must have their reports submitted to the PRO by 8pm on a Saturday to lessen his Sunday workload.
Huge goal return
Assistant secretary Terry Leyden confirmed there was one goal more scored in the whole Donegal League Premier Division last season than the previous high of 2008-09.
In total, 336 goals were scored in the Premier, 40 more than 2010-11 on 326, while the 2009-10 mark was just 292 and 335 were scored in 2008-09. The number of goals was also up in the Milford Inn Division One.
Three-hundred-and-fifty-one goals were scored last term, up from the 312 the previous season but down on the 360 from 2009-10, while the 2008-09 number was 342.
The 321 goals scored in the CT Ball Division Two was nine down on the previous season but still a healthy total compared to 290 in 2009-10 and 275 in 2008-09.
There was also progress in the Saturday leagues. Last season’s figure of 228 goals ranks higher than the 205 in 2010-11, 131 in 2009-10 and 153 in 2008-09 in the Willie Duffy Division One.
There’s a similar trend in the Glencar Inn Division One after 371 goals were scored. That’s 112 goals more than the preceding season, while the 2010-11 total was 259 and there were 239 in 2008-09.
Lottery grant for Ballyare?
Treasurer George McMullan confirmed the Donegal League had applied to the National Lotterty for a grant to improve Ballyare.
McMullan said a new sand pitch with an underground drainage system, a perimiter fence and dugouts would cost something in the region of €116,000. McMullan said the most of league expected to get from the grant would be 25 to 30 per cent but encouraged clubs to apply for grants from the FAI, before this Friday’s deadline.
McMullan also presented the league’s financial statement for the year just finished. The league’s surplus for the year was €20,860.
Income for the year was €78,479 with €19,933 being gathered from the rental of the Ballyare astroturf. McMullan said there was a further sum in the region of €5,000 owed for the Astroturf.
He also said a loan repayment to the FAI was due to be paid. He claims the figure owed is €8,000, although the association claim it is €9,000. Expenditure for the year was €57,610 and the Donegal League now has current assets of €62,085.