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Reilly's penalty U-turn could set worrying precedent for referees

Cormac Reilly's penalty U-turn in the Waterford-Limerick qualifier on Saturday evening has surprised GAA officials.

The Meath referee initially awarded the penalty for an apparent nudge in the back on Deise attacker Paul Whyte by Tommy Stack.

But after speaking with his umpires, Reilly overruled his own decision.

Chairman of the national referees committee Mick Curley said referees were under "no obligation" to speak with umpires if they have made a decision, but with the training umpires are receiving, he acknowledged that it was happening more often.

"I haven't seen too many, if any, decisions reversed like that, I have to say," said Curley. "I haven't spoken to Cormac so I couldn't comment any further."

However, Reilly's U-turn has caused some concern among officials that a precedent has been set.

In the Ulster final the following day, Maurice Deegan sought reassurance from his umpires over the decision he made to award Donegal a penalty.


Derry manager John Brennan challenged Deegan to ditch GAA protocol and explain the decision to him afterwards, saying: "I would love him to come and tell me, irrespective of GAA rules, and irrespective of Croke Park, where he got that from.

"Be a gentleman, and come and talk to me man to man. Tell me what our goalkeeper did to constitute him awarding them a penalty. Can I put it in any simpler terms?"

But Curley insisted that there is a process in place for communication on decisions taken and that referees would not be exposed to direct contact with managers in such a forum.

"If a manager has a grievance or is seeking an explanation about something, there is the facility to contact me. Any feedback will be passed on to the relevant official," he said.

Meanwhile, Ulster Council president Aoghan Farrell has insisted that the date of the Ulster final is not set in stone, despite suggestions to the contrary.

For the third successive year, the defeated Ulster finalists have only a six/seven-day turnaround ahead of a fourth-round qualifier.

Farrell insisted that fixtures are set by the CCCC in conjunction with fixtures planners from all the provinces and that they remain flexible with the date of their final.

The Ulster final does not normally take place on a weekend that is close to July 12 and that is why the third weekend in July suits better even if it compromises their beaten finalists.

Irish Independent