Monday 14 October 2019

Some referees appointments are really baffling

Referee David Coldrick. Photo: Sportsfile
Referee David Coldrick. Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Hours before Meath manager Andy McEntee rounded on Roscommon referee Paddy Neilan last Saturday, Meath referee David Coldrick was similarly excoriated by Derry manager Damien McErlain.

"He lives far too close to Kildare. He is a Leinster man. He shouldn't have been appointed," said McErlain.

He has a point. No one is suggesting that Coldrick or any other referee appointed to take charge of a game involving a county from his own province is anything other than scrupulously fair, but it still looks wrong, especially to the other team. Why wasn't a Connacht or Munster referee appointed for Derry v Kildare?

An even more curious situation arose in the Joe McDonagh Cup games, which decided whether Carlow or Antrim joined Westmeath in the final. Colum Cunning (Antrim) was appointed for Carlow v Westmeath, with Patrick Murphy (Carlow) assigned to Antrim v Kerry.

In each case, the referee took charge of a game where the result could have sealed his own county's fate in a competition which carries All-Ireland preliminary quarter-final places and a chance of promotion to MacCarthy Cup level.

As much in Cunning's and Murphy's interest as anything else, surely two other referees should have been appointed for those games.

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