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'The stewards are only short of bowing to them' | Colm Nally on Dubs-ref relations

Eoin Harte
Eoin Harte

12:20 29 Aug 2019

Meath coach Colm Nally was on Thursday’s OTB Live Drive for Five special and spoke about how Dublin make it their business to get on the good side of referees.

Nally, a Dubliner himself, noticed the respect that his home county received from the match officials and was annoyed that his own Meath side didn’t get the same treatment.

“The second the bus pulls into Croke Park the stewards are only short of bowing to them," Nally said of the reigning All-Ireland champions.

"They come out onto the pitch when they want. They have their own set of rules.

“One thing that was really annoying me, and I know I’m being pedantic here. The officials, even the linesmen, they say to them, ‘Jack just hold on there, Ciarán wait a second. Meath number 7, wait.’

“They use the names of the Dublin players but didn’t use the names of the Meath players,” Nally explained.

The Royals coach commended Jim Gavin’s side for being able to deal with referees so well and admitted that it was something his own players had struggled with.

“Once there’s a stop in play the players are in around the ref saying, “Do you mind if I ask you a question? What did I do wrong the last time there? Do you think I overcarried it?”

“It’s all gamesmanship. It’s all managing players. While we were probably going in and saying, ‘What the hell was that for?” We were picking up on loads of those things and saying, ‘That’s not how you address the officials.’

“You might think that’s common knowledge but when your emotions are all over the place, it's very hard to control your emotions to get that,” Nally said.

While the Meath coach acknowledged that in most cases befriending the ref won’t win a game on its own, it is those make small differences that can go a long way.

“Only when there’s a 50/50 call will they say, ‘He’s nicer to me. I’ll give it to him.’ But there’s so much of that kind of stuff,” Nally said.

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