| 7.1°C Dublin

GAA sends umpires back to school

The GAA yesterday approved plans to provide specialist training for umpires after a summer riddled with controversy.

The 2010 season saw a series of contentious decisions made by officials and the GAA was subjected to a wave of criticism with regard to the standard of umpiring during the championship.

In the Connacht SFC clash between Sligo and Galway, the awarding of two points was disputed after tv replays revealed both were in fact wide.

Then there was the highly controversial Leinster football final between Louth and Meath which sparked outrage among GAA fans after Joe Sheridan was awarded the goal that never was. Again, replays showed that Sheridan had carried the ball over the line.

There was also the Benny Coulter square ball in Down's All-Ireland semi-final win over Kildare which again brought criticism on the GAA.

As a result of these errors, plans have now been laid down to train all umpires leading to certification and inclusion on an inter-county panel from which league and championship umpires will be selected. The proposed changes will require umpires to undertake tests on the rules and regulations of the game.

The package of proposals are to be forwarded to the National Referees Committee for implementation by next year's senior championships.

The GAA has also decided to defer the proposed implementation of a new clock and hooter system on the grounds of cost and practical difficulties. The estimated financial outlay for the new alert systems is approximately €250,000.

The motion passed at Congress 2010 called for the use of the clock/hooter system on a trial basis in all Allianz League games in 2011. The matter will be revisited at Congress 2011.

Elsewhere, it has been confirmed that Cork manager Conor Counihan and Down boss James McCartan will take charge of this year's GAA football All Stars teams for their game in Kuala Lumpur next month as Kerry manager Jack O'Connor was not in a position to travel to Malaysia.

It was also agreed that the All Star hurling teams of 2010 and 2011 will travel to San Francisco in 2011.

Liam Sheedy spoke for the first time yesterday about his decision to step down as Tipperary senior hurling manager, and refused to rule out a return to the hot seat in the future. He said that stepping aside now allows a successor to put his plans in place at a critical time.

"The team always comes first. You can't come in in January and be ready for the National League in five weeks," he said.

"A structure in October allows individual programmes to be ready for November. They (players) have got work to be doing in November and December."

Sunday Independent