Sunday 26 January 2020

Consistency key for new elite refs squad

Cliona Foley

A NEW crack squad of elite referees has been assembled for this summer's championships and has been given one overriding instruction from Croke Park -- provide more consistency.

This first 'premier division' of referees was brought to GAA HQ for an intensive two-day pre-championship briefing last weekend.

The GAA believe that the creation of this new 'Championship Panel' will bring more consistency to refereeing decisions.

This is the first such closed panel of referees and it will comprise of 10 hurling and 18 football officials. These will be the only referees who will get to officiate at senior championship matches this summer.

The GAA has not released the elite list yet and Mick Curley, the Chairman of the National Referees Committee, was not willing to identify who is on it yesterday, saying: "The referees involved know who they are."

All those who have made the panel were informed over the past two weeks and were called to Croke Park for last weekend's intensive seminar. They also had to pass one final, pre-championship fitness test in DCU.

"Before this, everyone was in the mix and could be called up to do matches during the summer, but it was felt that cutting down on the panel for senior championship matches will give those involved a lot more games," said Curley.

Another initiative to try to improve the standard of senior inter-county refereeing is the introduction of a new age limit and from next January, 50 will be the automatic cut-off age.

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