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'Eye in the sky' will be given power to alert referee over scoring errors

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The first time Hawk-Eye will officially operate is for the Leinster SFC quarter-final doubleheader on June 1, involving Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare versus Offaly and Dublin against Carlow or Westmeath.

The first time Hawk-Eye will officially operate is for the Leinster SFC quarter-final doubleheader on June 1, involving Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare versus Offaly and Dublin against Carlow or Westmeath.

The first time Hawk-Eye will officially operate is for the Leinster SFC quarter-final doubleheader on June 1, involving Kieran McGeeney’s Kildare versus Offaly and Dublin against Carlow or Westmeath.

OFFICIALS operating the GAA's new Hawk-Eye technology in Croke Park this summer will have the power to alert the referee if his match officials make a mistake over a score.

The GAA has just landed a reported "serious six-figure" sponsorship deal with Specsavers to help cover the costs of their new technology, which is designed to eradicate some of the scoring controversies of recent summers.

Approval from Congress last month, and the ironing out of a range of technical issues over the past two years, means the new score detection system is finally ready to go.

Officials have stressed that it will only decide whether the ball or sliotar has gone between the uprights and is nothing like rugby's 'TMO' or any form of goal-mouth technology.

It will only be used when umpires and a referee cannot decide if a shot went wide or is legitimate, whereupon the referee will ask for the computer-generated image from Hawk-Eye to be reviewed.

But it has emerged that the official who is operating the 'eye in the sky' will also be able to alert the referee if his umpires have made an error of judgment.

Tennis and cricket already use Hawk-Eye (a company now owned by Sony) but it had to be specially adapted for Gaelic games and has been rigorously tested over the last two years, with final trials taking place at this year's All-Ireland club finals.

It uses three cameras – one behind the goal and two in the stands – which track the flight of the ball through computer triangulation.

The first time Hawk-Eye will officially operate is for the Leinster SFC quarter-final double-header on June 1, involving Kieran McGeeney's (above) Kildare versus Offaly and Dublin against Carlow or Westmeath.

The height of shots in hurling will not pose a problem because the system involves creating 'virtual posts' directly above the existing goal, which in Croke Park, will double their height to 26 metres. The GAA has argued that the high cost involved was the reason for not being able to install it elsewhere, but securing a sponsor could open up opportunities to expand it to other grounds in the future.

Irish Independent