Friday 24 November 2017

Davy Fitzgerald: Hurling needs two referees

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald
Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald has said that hurling needs two referees.

Fitzgerald said that the increased pace may be forcing the issue of a second referee in the future but doesn't believe too many changes are required as the committee formed to review hurling begin their work.

"With the way the game is moving, maybe is it time to look at a second referee at the other side of the field? It's very hard to cover the ground," he pointed out.

"Maybe better communication (is required). They say that their umpires aren't allowed talk to them or whatever the story is. You sometimes see backs mangling forwards and the umpire can't see it. I remember we had a game in my first year with Clare when our full-back (Cian Dillon) had his helmet pulled down.

"My man grabbed onto him after that because he was blinded and it was a penalty. But the first instance wasn't seen and how was the ref to see it? He was maybe 60 yards away.

"It's very hard, with the speed of our game, for the referee to be up and down and not be allowed talk to his umpires and stuff like that. Apart from that, our game is strong. I wouldn't go mad on stuff. The amount of frees, I would just say to them, you don't have to blow for everything and anything. If it's a free, it's a free and not to dole out ... I thought in the league we doled out yellow cards pretty handy. Just let it go – once you're not favouring one team, that's fine."

Fitzgerald did admit he has seen signs, backed by evidence they have collated, that decisions on the field have not being going their way but was reluctant to expand.

"There was one thing that bothered me and the statistics will back it up but I'm not going to go into it. One game we played, there were 16 scoreable frees given inside midfield and we got seven.

"That couldn't be right. I know when I looked back at the game afterwards that I saw nearly the same examples where we could have got frees. But there is no way that the same team could have got 16 to our seven. It doesn't make sense.

"Referees will say they were frees but we can say there were examples on our side of the same thing and you didn't give them. And of the seven frees that we were given, there were two of them on the sideline. I remember because our score from frees that day was pretty low.

"I work on fact. Trust me, when we're analysing the guys, we work on different facts for them. If we take off a guy, there's a reason for it. We weigh it up, how many times he's on the ball, how many times his man is on the ball, that's what I believe in. There's no point guessing about stuff."

Fitzgerald stressed he has no problems with referees and was only making a point because he was asked directly about it.

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