David Meier's refereeing column: Cleary decision was a shocker

Betweenthestripes.ie is delighted to bring you column entry number two written by former League of Ireland referee, David Meier. A Former FIFA Assistant Referee, who nowadays works in the media covering all things refereeing and much more, David Meier has been a regular panelist on Sports Tonight TV and has also worked on the BBC in Ulster on The Nolan Show and numerous other radio shows around the world. On the refereeing front, David had many European Trips over his career and was involved in many top games in the Eircom League as it was called then. 

 You can follow David Meier on Twitter  @meiercy

You can follow David Meier on Twitter @meiercy

I must say, it was great to have so much interest in my last article and the comments made by a lot of people were both interesting and quite funny to be honest. I have always said that football is a game of opinions and so many people see things in so many different ways. This aspect of our game can also be said about refereeing as one official might see things differently to another and this is where a lot of the fans can get frustrated when things do not go their clubs way. By writing these articles I do not claim to have the God given right to call everything correctly but trust me, my opinion will be more often right than wrong. This comes from my experience of been involved in the white-hot atmosphere of many crucial games throughout my career. The game may have become that little bit faster over the years but the rules have not changed that much, and it's core value has stayed the same.

Mulling over a few games in the past month, I have to say things have been going well on the park for the officials. Now before everyone jumps down my neck, I am only saying that about the games I have been lucky enough to see. But the one big decision that I must take a look at is the one in the FAI Cup Semi Final between Dundalk and UCD, which was played in Oriel Park. When the smaller clubs get to the big games against the favorites they need a few breaks and dare I say it maybe an odd refereeing decision to go their way. On the night, the college men got nothing and unfortunately lost one nil to a Dundalk side, who as we know are on fire. Things could have been all so different if referee Rob Hennessy had produced a red card when Daniel Cleary from the home side went into a challenge recklessly on UCD’s Conor Davis.

In my opinion, it was a terrible challenge and only Rob will know as to why he produced only yellow instead of red. I have a feeling that he was possibly swayed by the fact that the moment the Dundalk player made contact with Davis that the UCD player only wanted to get up and carry on and decided not to milk the situation, which the player has to be congratulated on. This is not an excuse to let the referee off the hook, as in my opinion he should have sent Cleary off and I am sure on his drive home from the ground the referee probably deep down felt the same. The whole situation was led by a player who was honest and maybe a bit naive in the same way, could you imagine the likes of Ronaldo getting up after such a challenge, in fact Cristiano would probably be still rolling now.

A lot of the time the guys who referee in the SSE Airtricity come in for a lot of stick from the fans and sometimes the abuse is unwarranted. Over the past week I have been watching a lot of the Champions League stuff that has been on view and some of the refereeing has been horrific! Not only has it been poor, but in some of the games it could possibly have a knock on effect and cost clubs millions of euro in prize money over the coming months.

The stand out cock up for me was the goal that “Spurs” had ruled out for offside in their game against PSV Eindhoven away. How the assistant referee could flag for offside on Harry Kane just beggars belief…one of the worst decisions in many a long day. The decision was easier not to give and would have made the official from Slovenia look so good in the eyes of the top brass, but instead his awful decision could possibly see him not getting many more games in Europe this season.

It was a decision that VAR was made for and I have no doubt that if it had been used on the night the result would have been all so different. So there you have it, two totally different decisions from different parts of Europe and both called wrong. I hope we won't have too many more during the season or my fingers will be sore from typing. Until the next time, enjoy your football and let us hope your club is not on the end of a questionable refereeing decision.


Have you heard our final Between the Stripes LOI podcast of the 2018 season? Going out in style with an “FAI Cup Final Special”, Kieran & Jon were joined by special guests Dan Murray, Alan Cawley, Lisa Fallon and lifelong Dundalk fan Gerard Lennon. You can listen to the show right now using the Audioboom player below. Be sure to subscribe and rate the podcast on Itunes!