Friday 20 July 2018

Too much refereeing power centralised in hands of too few

Referee Brian Gavin has refereed 8 finals between 2011-2015.
Referee Brian Gavin has refereed 8 finals between 2011-2015.
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Since Brian Gavin and Barry Kelly have been the busiest hurling referees in recent years, it's assumed that they are also the best.

But, are they that good that they should officiate at almost 60pc of All-Ireland finals, semi-finals and quarter-finals in 2011-2015? Between them, they have refereed 16 (Gavin 8, Kelly 8) of the 27 biggest games in that period, with six others sharing the remaining 11.

Nine counties have reached the All-Ireland quarter-finals in 2011-2015, yet only eight referees have seen action.

Centralising so much power in the hands of a small group is supposed to ensure greater consistency.

Really? There's certainly more uniformity in letting play flow, even to the point of sometimes ignoring such incidentals as rules, which should not be the prerogative of any referee.

However, there's another issue. Familiarity between players, managers and referees isn't necessarily good for any of them.

It's not as if referees won't have their personal likes and dislikes which, however hard they work to suppress them, may be a factor from time to time.

Also, giving so many big matches to so few isn't exactly encouraging for the rest of the referees.

A final point. How come that Kilkenny, by far the most successful hurling county, have had no referee on the championship panel for a very long time?

That looks odd, does it not?

Irish Independent

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