Four-time All-Ireland hurling final referee Brian Gavin has retired
Four-time All-Ireland hurling final referee Brian Gavin has stepped away from the inter-county game.
The Clara clubman was the man in the middle for the September showpiece in 2011, '13, '14 (Replay) and '16.
The 40-year-old admitted that it was getting tougher to cope with the demands of the game.
He told GAA.ie: “I'll definitely miss it, there's no doubt, but I just feel I've come to the right decision.
“It's getting harder every year. Even though I'm only 40 I'm still 20 years older than some of the players, so it's getting tougher and tougher.
"I really enjoyed my time, I had four All-Ireland Finals and four Munster Finals. I'd probably say now I would have liked to get five All-Irelands, but when I started off I would have been thrilled with even one, never mind four. So, I definitely have no regrets.”
Gavin has been ably assisted throughout his refereeing career by the same four umpires. His father Michael, his brother David, his fellow Clara club-man William Flynn, and Ferbane-Belmont club-man PJ Lawlor.
“They've been with me since day one. People in refereeing would understand when I say reliable umpires are crucial to have. One or two bad umpires could bring you down, but I was steeped lucky with the four lads I have.
“And luckily enough one of them was my father and one of them was brother which always added to All-Ireland Finals because my brother would have brought his family as well. We had marvellous days, especially in the build up to the All-Irelands.”
Despite officiating at four All-Ireland finals and four Munster deciders, Gavin pinpoints a qualifier game between Kilkenny and Tipperary as his most satisfying.
“I suppose the greatest game ever was the qualifier in 2013 between Kilkenny and Tipp down in Nowlan Park,” he said.
“That even surpassed the All-Irelands. Memories like that from games like that are very special and I'll definitely miss being involved in those.
“I was lucky enough to be on the pitch with some of the greatest hurlers we've ever seen. The likes of Tommy Walsh, Seamus Callanan, Joe Canning, Henry Shefflin, all of them.
“And then lucky enough when you get to referee an All-Ireland Final you get to go on the All-Star trip and you get to know the lads a good bit more which is great.”