Saturday 29 April 2017

Revealed: Leinster refs in firing line after failing fitness tests

Leinster CEO Michael Reynolds. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Leinster CEO Michael Reynolds. Photo: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

More than half of Leinster's emerging football and hurling referees were not considered for last autumn's club championships because they failed fitness and rules tests.

Earlier in the year, the Leinster Council had to call on referees from the national list because of fitness issues among some of those on the development panel.

"A source of disappointment to us was the number of our development panel referees, who did not meet the required standard for officiating in the fitness test," writes Tom Quigley, chairman of the province's Referees' Committee, in his annual report.

"This had a significant impact on the work of the Appointments Committee as it reduced the number of referees available to us."

Quigley states bluntly that Leinster "cannot develop referees if they themselves do not wish to work hard to be developed".

"At an absolute minimum, that entails getting oneself into the physical shape to pass the Leinster fitness tests."

He presents alarming statistics, pointing out that only 17 of 40 referees on the development panel passed fitness and rules tests last September.

"This is clearly a grave situation and consideration has to be given to a major cleanout of a significant number of the current development panel in favour of newer and younger referees who will consistently pass tests and be available to referee for us and who will also work with us to be developed into national referees.

"There is no point in having names on a list, if that is all they are."

In another reference to referees, Leinster CEO Michael Reynolds refers to them as a "threatened species" in short supply at all levels.

"But are we really tackling the issue, particularly that of inter-county referees? Is the present age limit a restriction?" he writes. "Whatever the reason, the expression of concern must turn to increased productivity in endeavouring to solve the problem."

Irish Independent

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