Gaeltacht GAA club claim ref told them to stop speaking Irish

Club teams in the west of Galway are synonymous with the use of the Irish language

A Gaeltacht GAA club in Galway has lodged a complaint with their county board after they claim they were told to stop talking Irish by a referee during a championship match.

Na Piarsaigh, based in Rosmuc in Connemara claim that the incident happened during the Junior A Football Championship West match between their club and Salthill Knocknacarra in Ros an Mhíl on Saturday last.

The Galway County Board confirmed to RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta news on Tuesday that they had received an official complaint from Na Piarsaigh/Ros Muc GAA Club in relation to comments allegedly made by a referee during a match at the weekend.

It’s believed that the referee was unhappy with both players on the field, and officials coaching from the sideline, speaking in Irish. With some of these officials having volunteered to assist him after he arrived to officiate alone.


County Board Secretary John Hynes confirmed that a complaint has been made by the club itself, and by one of the club officials, alleging that the referee at the match told them not to speak Irish to the team.

He added that the complaints would be dealt with through the official complaints system and the matter would be resolved within the next fortnight.

Club teams in the west of Galway are synonymous with the use of the Irish language during games. While one of the official aims of the GAA in the promotion of our national games, is to “actively support the Irish language and Irish culture”.

Na Piarsaigh would ultimately lose the match by five points, 1-8 to 1-13. The victory seeing Salthill Knocknacarra’s Junior A team through to the West Board semi-final.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times