Consistency crucial for referees at top level
We are repeatedly told that there's so much work being done with referees in pursuit of consistency that interpretation of the rules are becoming much more uniform.
I'm not so sure. The Dublin-Offaly and Cork-Tipperary games were shown live one after the other by RTE last Sunday, so it was easy to compare them. Conditions at Croke Park and Thurles were broadly the same, which made comparisons all the easier.
My take on the games was that John Sexton was quite fussy in the Dublin-Offaly game, whereas Brian Gavin let things flow in Cork-Tipperary. Twelve players were booked (and one sent off on a double yellow card) at Croke Park, whereas six were booked in Thurles. Was there such a difference in the approach by the four teams at the two venues?
I doubt it very much. Personally, I would back the Gavin style of letting things flow as much as possible, but it should not be a question of personal preference. Obviously, there will always be little variations between referees but, with so much training and monitoring going on, the difference between the five or six guys at the top should be minimal.
As for the 'magic' that turned Alan McCrabbe's wide into a point, it makes you wonder why this type of mistake is happening so often. It's just not good enough and certainly not at senior inter-county championship level.