By Pierce O’Reilly
It’s wasn’t long ago that it was alleged in Irish papers that New York Gaelic Athletic Association president Monty Moloney had called Roscommon footballers "cowards" for not traveling to New York to play the home side. Back at Gaelic Park for their first meeting at the hallowed ground in 10 years, the word "cowards" once again almost slipped out of Moloney’s mouth Thursday night. On this occasion, he bit his lip and instead severely criticized New York referees for being "afraid" to do their job.
"I’ve seen tackles and incidents at Gaelic Park where guys’ legs could very easily have been broken and not even a card was produced," he said. "The referees are simply afraid to do their job and players and managers are getting away with hell."
Moloney went on to say that he doesn’t blame the players for ‘"trying to get away with what ever they can." Instead, he said, they should be penalized early and often.
"I hope that the new referees committee look into these reports and come back with some new recommendations," Moloney said.
Referees in attendance questioned the use of the yellow and red cards and said that New York GAA wasn’t in tandem with Irish rules.
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At present, when a player in New York receives two yellow cards followed by a red, he is suspended for one game. In Ireland, the player only misses the remainder of that game. Moloney said he agreed with the delegates and that at the next convention he would try and rectify the problem.
In a related incident in Ireland over the weekend, Dublin referee Eddie Walker required hospital treatment for a broken arm, a broken wrist and a punctured lung following an attack by a Crumlin player during a county junior championship first-round tie.
Among other issues discussed at the first meeting back at Gaelic Park since 1990 was the junior "B" division. Mayo delegate Pat Gavin said it was a disgrace that the division would be over before the month of June was out.
"Players come to New York to play summer football," he said. "Well, it’s now over before they arrive and that’s not good enough."
The delegates discussed a secondary loser’s league but the backlog of games and the difficulty with pitch availability put the issue to rest for now. Moloney also stated that he was disappointed with the attendance at Gaelic Park recently.
"We have a debt of $75,000 to pay off and it’s about time we did something to bolster the gate receipts," he said. The issue was further debated when several clubs said they didn’t want to play any games at the new pitch at Rockland.