Wednesday 13 November 2019

Calls grow for second referee in gaelic football after rule-change proposals

Referee Maurice Deegan. Photo: Sportsfile
Referee Maurice Deegan. Photo: Sportsfile
Irish International Rules manager Paul Earley. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Calls for a second referee in Gaelic football are growing following proposals to introduce major changes to the playing rules.

The headline adjustment involves the number of successive hand-passes to be restricted to three, which would add to the refereeing workloads.

However, Maurice Deegan, one of the most experienced referees in the game, insists that one official could easily cope with that.

"Referees would have no problem counting the hand-passes. They would adapt very quickly," said Deegan, who has refereed three All-Ireland senior finals.

Paul Earley, former All-Star, International Rules manager and a member of the Football Review Committee which introduced the black-card sanction, is a long-time advocate of having two referees and believes the proposed changes further strengthens the argument.

"We'll have to wait and see how many of the proposals are implemented but even if it's one or two, the case for a second referee has to be on the table," he said.

Clare manager Colm Collins also believes that two referees would be required to implement the new rules.

Earley said that Eamonn Fitzmaurice and Seán Cavanagh had recently backed the two-referee idea and others were coming aboard too.

GAA Newsletter

Expert GAA analysis straight to your inbox.

"For some reason, there seems to be a reluctance at official level and there doesn't seem to be any enthusiasm among referees either. I don't know if it's a mixture of cost and protectionism," he said.

Deegan, who worked with an Australian referee in International Rules games, said it operated smoothly but was only necessary because two different games were being played in hybrid form.

"It's different in our own game. One referee is capable of doing it and I don't think the proposed changes would make any difference," he said.

Irish Independent

The Throw-In: 'Jim Gavin has achieved what Mick O'Dwyer and Brian Cody couldn't do'

In association with Bord Gáis Energy

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport