Name: Máirtín Flannery

Club: Ballycastle

Job: Postman

Favourite club: Celtic/ Liverpool

Wife: Rosaleen
Children: Shannen Gráinne Erín and Oisín

Did you play GAA growing up?
Yes played underage with Ballycastle and started with Ballycastle juniors at 16 and played up until I was 37

Do you follow any other sport?
Yes all sports but mostly Soccer

Do you referee Hurling or Football?
Football

Why and when did you become a referee?
Martin Heffernan our club chairman at the time asked would I be interested in doing the course I wasnt that enthusiastic but so glad I did.
2020 will be my 4th season as a referee

How does being a referee affect your daily/ family life?
When the season is in full swing it has a major effect, you cannot plan anything with the family until you look at your schedule for the week.
My son plays for Naomh Padraig U14s so I miss out on most of his matches as I’ll be refereeing some where in the county at the same time.

Are there any exceptional moments that you have experienced through refereeing, that will stay in your mind forever?
Probably my first Mens Final It was a North Mayo B Final between Lacken and Kilfian played in Ballycastle.
I knew most the lads playing and remember being so nervous I didnt sleep a wink the night before. The Game went well no Major incidents but as it was my first mens final its something I’ll never forget.

What’s the best/worst part of refereeing?

Still being involved in the game at a high level and the friendship you make with other referees, club coaches and players, I’ve made great friends in the 4 years I’ve been involved.
The worst is the spectators who think your fair game just because you have a whistle in your mouth

Would you encourage young people to become a referee?

Anyone thinking of becoming a referee I cannot recommend it highly enough I just wish I had taken it up sooner

What advice would you give anyone hoping to become a Referee?
The best advice I can give anyone hoping to be a referee is always ask the more experienced referees for advice, Most will be only to glad to help. I was blessed in North Mayo I could call on John Walker,Mick Herr, Richard Cosgrave, Malachy and Sean McHale they were always at the end of the phone.

Have you ever changed your mind about a decision you have made on the pitch?
Yes we are all human after all, mistakes can be made, I would prefer to change my mind and look foolish than let play continue and it to cost a team a game.

What is your opinion on the abuse and unsportsmanlike like conduct shown towards Referees in modern sport?
In the four years I’ve been doing it I can see it gradually getting better but we have a long way to go , I think the players and Management have more respect for the referees than they used to.
It’s the expert’s in the stands that need to improve their behaviour.

What do you find gratifying about Refereeing?
When both teams and management come up to you after the game with the simple words
“Good game Ref”

Do you envy any referees in other sporting codes?
No I think Gaelic football is one of the best sports in the world and we are privileged to be part of it.

What do you think about the introduction of the new rules for the 2020 season?
I think the Sin Bin is a good idea but the advanced mark the jury is still out on it.

If there was one thing you’d like to say to parents/ supporters at matches what would it be?
Please remember referees are someones Husband/Wife Son/Daughter Father/Mother and without them there would be no games so please treat them with respect

If you could add/remove one rule from the referees handbook what would be and why?
Probably not a rule as such but I would give more powers to Umpires and linesmen ( Let the linesman flag for a foul)

Funniest experience as a referee:
Doing a Minor match in Castlebar, In the first min Castlebar scored a point my umpire Seamus Symth took off after the ball slipped and slid about 15 yards along the end line on his back both teams and Management burst out laughing.

What referee(s) do you admire most, from any sport?
We have some of the best referees in Mayo most notably Jerome Henry and Liam Devanney but the one referee who I admire for the way he holds himself throughout a game and never loses it is David Gough.

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