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Louth referees set to offer their services elsewhere

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Fr Derek Ryan took charge of this year's Louth senior football and hurling finals. PHOTO: RAY MCMANUS/SPORTSFILE

Fr Derek Ryan took charge of this year's Louth senior football and hurling finals. PHOTO: RAY MCMANUS/SPORTSFILE

Cian and Sean Connor at McEvoy Park. Photo: Aidan Dullaghan/Newspics

Cian and Sean Connor at McEvoy Park. Photo: Aidan Dullaghan/Newspics

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Fr Derek Ryan took charge of this year's Louth senior football and hurling finals. PHOTO: RAY MCMANUS/SPORTSFILE

Louth GAA could be faced by a shortage of referees in 2022, with several senior officials set to offer their services to neighbouring counties.

Meetings between representatives of the whistlers and Louth County Board members became fraught towards the end of last year on the topic of several issues, including the criteria upon which championship final officials were selected.

The latest matter has arisen from the delayed payment of fees for the 2021 season, due to be received by referees at the beginning of December. It is believed a number of officials were still awaiting monies owed in the days leading up to Christmas. 

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Referees administrator Denis McArdle is primed to continue in his post for a third year despite some whistlers allegedly making it clear to the county executive that they would officiate elsewhere unless the St Mochta’s man was replaced. 

“Some referees have made it clear that they intend going to other counties and we can’t really stop them,” Des McDonald, chairman of the Louth referees’ body, told The Argus.

“There are a number of issues at play – it’s not any one that will cause referees to withdraw their availability within Louth.

“And other referees may actually stand in solidarity with the referees who are in dispute, which could make the situation even more difficult. It is already hard enough to contend with the number of games there are at the moment without having less referees.

“As it stands, it could be very difficult to fulfil next year’s calendar given the shortage of referees.”

However, county chairman Peter Fitzpatrick has rejected the notion of a rift between match officials and his colleagues, insisting there will be “no shortage of referees”.

“Denis has been ratified and to be fair to him, he has done a fantastic job over the two years he’s been in the post. I am fully behind him.

“We had 11 new referees last year and there will be more this year.

“As chairman, I have met with the referees three times over the last number of months – they are very easy to talk to and as far as I’m concerned, there is no problem with communication between Louth County Board and the referees.”

Fitzpatrick declined to comment when asked about both the 2021 payment delay and certain referees’ intentions to officiate outside the Wee County when play resumes.


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