Soccer ref's Croker seminar
Published 18/01/2011 | 05:00
Former Premier League referee Dermot Gallagher addressed his GAA counterparts at a seminar in Croke Park at the weekend.
Gallagher, one of the best known referees in English and world soccer at the height of his career, was the GAA's special guest, as referees in hurling and football were brought together for the first fitness testing sessions and briefings of 2011.
Gallagher quit refereeing in 2007 and has since gone on to forge a career as a witty speaker on the after-dinner circuit.
The Dublin-born former official is also a regular Sky Sports TV pundit on refereeing matters.
On Friday night he regaled most of the GAA's best known referees with stories from his time at the coalface of English football, which included refereeing the 1996 FA Cup final between Manchester United and Liverpool.
Refereeing chiefs have brought in guest speakers from other codes before, and only last November the AFL umpire Rowan Sawers addressed the GAA's men in the middle.
In the past international rugby referee Alain Rolland has also guested at the seminars.
Referees are gearing up for a new league and championship season but will be without two of their most experienced figures -- as Roscommon's Gerry Kinneavey and Kerry's Aidan Mangan have both retired in accordance with the upper age limit of 50. Pat McEnaney is also due to retire at the end of this season, as he too will reach the age of 50 before the start of 2011 competition.