Damian Lawlor: Why GAA are right to give banned ref Brian Gavin green light to officiate Kikenny v Waterford
WITH Sunday's throw-in so close, the GAA are correct to let Brian Gavin take charge of the All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Kilkenny and Waterford.
Gavin faced into the weekend facing a one-month ban but the GAA acted quickly to ensure that he will take charge of the big game.
Was it the right call? Some will argue that as a referee he should have been punished had there been any question of abuse to a fellow match official. They might also contend that there 'is one rule for some, and one for another' within the Association.
However, a quick call had to be made and the top level officials at Croke Park are bound to have have investigated this matter fully. They made a timely decision based on the importance of the forthcoming semi-final. It will be interesting to see what the other referee in this episode has to say, but for now both Waterford and Galway have clarity. Gavin too. That has to count for a lot.
Gavin is a three-time All-Ireland final referee and his displays have been widely acclaimed for contributing to some classics. His style is to let teams play robustly and go at each other. He is not whistle happy. It's not a fussy style and the Offaly man has endeared himself to the wider hurling public in his time at the top.
He was thrust firmly under the spotlight now with the potential suspension from the Offaly County Board after alleged comments he made to another match official during a recent junior football quarter-final.
We are still not sure what those comments were, and know little of the nature of them, so it is difficult to comment any further. For now, however, the right call has been made.
Both Waterford and Kilkenny would have prepared for this game with his style in mind.
The GAA would have comprehensively briefed the referee on what they expect from him in this game - and what to look out for.
Gavin himself and his support team would have conducted careful analysis on the fixture. He could have been distracted had the issue not been resolved - for now. And it wouldn't have been fair for another referee to step in at such short notice to take a game of such magnitude.
With this weekend in mind the right call was made. As with everything in the GAA, though, there could be a knock-on effect somewhere down the line. For all parties involved.