Monday 15 October 2018

'I feel betrayed by the association' - Top hurling referee James McGrath quits after All-Ireland final snub

15 July 2018; Referee James McGrath during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co Tipperary Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
15 July 2018; Referee James McGrath during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Kilkenny and Limerick at Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co Tipperary Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Top hurling referee James McGrath has announced that he has stepped down from the national panel of officials after being overlooked for the All-Ireland final.

The Westmeath referee has had the whistle for numerous high profile games over the years, including the replayed All-Ireland finals in 2012 and 2013.

McGrath was the man in the middle for the All-Ireland hurling quarter-final between Limerick and Kilkenny this year, with the referee for the decider traditionallly coming from one of the two quarter-finals.

However, the GAA made the surprise decision to award the clash between Galway and Limerick to Wexford's James Owens, who was in charge of the drawn semi-final between the Tribesmen and Clare.

McGrath has subsequently taken to Facebook to announce that he has resigned from the national panel of referees.

"It is with a heavy heart that I make this decision but I feel my decision has ultimately been made by CRAC for me to resign from the national referees panel with immediate effect," he said.

"It is final and irreversible given the lack of trust, confidence and integrity by CRAC and I feel betrayed by the association as a consequence given my 18 years of unbroken volunteerism to the association on the national refereees panel.

"I wish to place on record my thanks to all my umpires, David Hennessy, David Clune, Tom McNicholas, Johnny Fitzpatrick, Alan Coyne, Paul Reville, Jimmy Weldon among others and thank all the loyal GAA diehards that I became friends with since I commenced refereeing back in 1996 (Maynooth University), Leinster panel '98 & the National panel in 2000.

"Wishing James Owens & Johnny Murphy, referees & all officials the very best of luck in the minor & senior finals on Sunday, August 19th next."

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