Refs told no rules clampdown
No specific playing rule will be targeted in the early rounds of the football or hurling championships by referees, writes Colm Keys.
In the past few seasons there has been an emphasis on particular enforcements -- last year the introduction of new handpass guidelines caused confusion and controversy in the early stages of the championship.
But after a weekend get-together of the 18 football and 12 hurling referees on the championship panel, there was no indication that officials will be instructed to crack down on something particular.
The news will be welcomed by managers and players, who find it hard to adjust and are conscious that strict enforcement often only lasts a few weeks.
Elements of the tackle have also been focused on in recent years, but a firm application of all rules is the only message that has been delivered to the referees. The referees gathered for their pre-championship assessments, which included fitness testing and a look at video clips of recent incidents.
The number of hurling referees for the championship has increased from 10 to 12 with the addition of Tony Carroll and Alan Kelly.
Martin Sludden is among the 18 football referees awaiting appointments during the season, despite his high-profile mistake in the Leinster final last season.