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Off The Ball: Sick of watching unpredictable umpires make mockery of our games


Referee Barry Kelly

Referee Barry Kelly

Referee Barry Kelly

Another Sunday, another GAA game with an unfathomable umpire mistake.

Kerry scored from a '45' in the first half against Tyrone that was blatantly not a '45' to many in the stadium and watching on television. It seemed only the umpire thought otherwise.

I'm often accused of being too harsh on officials and I probably am. It's an impossible job and I know I give them a hard time when they get decisions wrong. That's generally unfair.

However, I make no apologies for questioning the usefulness of the men in the white coats.

Two weeks ago, Tipperary were given an equally ludicrous '65', only for referee Barry Kelly to step in and over-rule. This is a weekly occurrence.

The fact is there's not the budget in the GAA for seven qualified referees for every game. I accept that.

But we should treat sport as elite, at least by the time we get to the business end of the championship.

There are solutions available to the GAA to cut this nonsense out immediately.

Firstly, extend Hawk-Eye to cover all goal-line incidents.

Then, appoint qualified referees to act as umpires, at least from the beginning of the All-Ireland series.

At Croke Park two weeks ago, I saw James Barry catapult himself past Joe Canning by grabbing his jersey three times in the early stages.

Joe, exasperated, turned back to the umpires. He received no response.

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It''s not good enough at this level of sport. The referee should have eyes all over the field.