FOR all of its passion, excitement and exhilaration, sport can often be very unforgiving and those involved will sometimes stand back and ask: ‘what’s the point of it all?’
Such a moment occurred yesterday at Turner’s Cross where Cork Women’s were leading 2-1 against DLR Waves with 38 minutes gone when the match was surprisingly abandoned by referee Chrissie Buckley.
The full details have yet to emerge, but it appears that a member of the DLR management disagreed with an order and the stand-off was ended by the officials calling it quits — much to the disappointment of everyone in the ground. While there is little point lambasting one party or the other, it should be noted that tensions regularly bubble up in competitive games, but it is how they are defused that separates the top level from the rest.
And that is why a game being abandoned in the WNL is embarrassing for all involved.
There is clearly a bigger issue at play here with amateurs (players, coaches and officials) stretching themselves so much to maintain professional standards that it sometimes boils over. That is when people start to question whether it is worth sticking with.
Of course, the answer to those queries is a resounding yes, because the WNL has made massive strides in its two short years and its future is very bright indeed. But continuing to overlook some of its faults is bound to build up frustration for those putting so much effort in.
The abandonment at Cork may be laughed off by outsiders, but for those involved in the league, who give up their time freely, it should act as a catalyst to deal with all of the problems within the game – crowds, fixtures, travel, exposure, incentives, etc.
There is no doubt that this is a good league and it is bound to get even stronger with more clubs eager to join up. But it would be a shame if this season wound down without these issues being resolved. After all, the quality of football is what should reassure everyone why it is worth fighting for.