Sunday 25 March 2018

'Assaulted' ref Helebert ready to make return

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Former Galway hurler Christy Helebert is determined to resume his fledgling refereeing career as soon as possible.

Helebert made the vow to continue on yesterday, as earlier this week, the GAA's Competitions Control Committee's (CCC) examination of events surrounding the controversial Galway hurling semi-final between Loughrea and Mullagh determined that the original 12-month bans should remain in place.

Helebert personally took the case to Croke Park when the Galway hearings committee cut bans for three Mullagh players from 12 months to just 12 weeks. The trio of Mullagh players may now explore an avenue of appeal against Croke Park's directive to the DRA.

But Helebert is preparing for a return to refereeing and, proclaiming the decision as a victory for the justice he sought, he believes referees everywhere will welcome it.

"Justice was all I wanted. At the end of the day, that's why I chased it. If I didn't, what would it have been like again next year?" he asked.

Helebert was only a referee for two years when he took charge of the match and was subjected to verbal and physical abuse at the end of the game over his decision to award a late free to Loughrea, which provided the match-winning score.

The Croke Park decision has hardened his resolve to return.

"I don't want to be remembered for that game, so I'm available if they want me," he said.

Irish Independent

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