More games might not mean more refs

Irish Examiner - Sport - - GAA -

So there will be 15 more top level cham­pi­onship games next year — eight in foot­ball and seven in hurl­ing. Does the GAA have enough ref­er­ees of high qual­ity to deal with that in­crease in matches or will some be fast-tracked?

The an­swer would seem yes in hurl­ing when the 2016 All-ire­land SHC fi­nal ref­eree Brian Gavin and Johnny Ryan picked up just one game each this past sum­mer — Gavin of­fi­ci­ated in the Kilkenny-lim­er­ick qual­i­fier and Ryan took charge of the Gal­way-of­faly Le­in­ster semi-fi­nal.

How­ever, there is a grow­ing ten­dency among coun­ties in both codes to reg­is­ter op­po­si­tion to the ap­point­ment of cer­tain ref­er­ees to their games.

The rea­sons for it are not clear but the fact is Barry Kelly hasn’t been the man in the mid­dle for a Kilkenny cham­pi­onship game since the 2014 drawn All-ire­land fi­nal.

Water­ford won’t be too keen on Fer­gal Hor­gan af­ter this year’s fi­nal.

In foot­ball, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see if David Gough is as­signed to a prom­i­nent Kerry game given the un­ease in the county fol­low­ing his ref­er­ee­ing of last year’s All-ire­land semi-fi­nal (even though he ad­mit­ted he made a mis­take) and this year’s semi-fi­nal re­play. While Mayo won’t want to see Joe Mc­quil­lan head­ing in their di­rec­tion af­ter a cou­ple of de­ci­sions in the first half of last month’s de­feat to Dublin.

Lob­by­ing Croke Park for cer­tain ref­er­ees not to be ap­pointed as op­posed to be­ing ap­pointed is noth­ing new. Not that there is any proof that it works but as the na­tional ref­er­ees pan­els are more ex­hausted, coun­ties may sim­ply be told to shut up and deal with it.

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