More games might not mean more refs
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.