McEnaney to take charge of Louth-Dublin Croker clash
The GAA have gone for a safe pair of hands to take charge of Saturday's Louth-Dublin fourth-round SFC qualifier at Croke Park. The game's most experienced referee, Pat McEnaney, has been appointed for what will be his fourth game of the championship so far.
McEnaney's appointment will be viewed as a secure option after the dramatic and tension-filled scenes at the end of the Leinster football final at the same venue 10 days ago.
The Monaghan official did have his decision to send off Graham Canty in the semi-final replay between Cork and Kerry reversed by the Central Hearings Committee (CHC), but he has since handled the Dublin-Tipperary SFC qualifier.
Jimmy White also makes a quick return to action after his impressive handling of the Connacht football final between Roscommon and Sligo. He has been given the Monaghan-Kildare fourth-round SFC qualifier which will precede the Louth-Dublin clash.
As with McEnaney, it will be White's fourth appearance and keeps him among the favourites to officiate the All-Ireland final.
Maurice Deegan is also on course for a fourth game as he has been slated for the Sligo-Down qualifier at Breffni Park and Padraig Hughes is back in action for the first time in four weeks at the Gaelic Grounds for Limerick versus Cork.
The busiest referees to date have been Gearoid O Conamha, another of the favourites for the All-Ireland final, Michael Duffy -- brother of Marty, who refereed last year's decider between Kerry and Cork -- and Cavan's Joe McQuillan. They have all refereed four matches.
A majority of the 18-man inter-county panel of referees have taken charge of at least three games each to date, the exceptions being Kerry's Aidan Mangan, Hughes, Cork's Michael Collins and Martin Sludden, the man at the centre of the Meath-Louth controversy.
With only seven games (excluding replays) left in the football championship after this weekend, most of the panel have already taken charge of their last game.
Referee appearances in championship so far:
4 -- Gearoid O Conamha (Galway), Joe McQuillan (Cavan), Michael Duffy (Sligo).
3 -- David Coldrick (Meath), Maurice Deegan (Laois), Derek Fahy (Longford), Pat Fox (Westmeath), Pat McEnaney (Monaghan), Cormac Reilly (Meath), Syl Doyle (Wexford), Jimmy White (Donegal), Martin Higgins (Fermanagh), Marty Duffy (Sligo), Maurice Condon (Waterford).
2 -- Aidan Mangan (Kerry), Michael Collins (Cork), Padraig Hughes (Armagh), Martin Sludden (Tyrone).