McAllister and Wadding axed from hurling referees panel
Two of hurling's most high-profile referees have been cut from the inter-county panel for this year's championship.
Cathal McAllister, who took charge of the controversial All-Ireland semi-final between Kilkenny and Tipperary last August, has been axed, as has Michael Wadding, who refereed the 2010 All-Ireland final between the same teams.
Anthony Stapleton from Laois, who handled the 2010 All-Ireland minor final, is the third referee to lose out as a result of the decision to reduce the panel from 12 to nine.
McAllister was criticised in the wake of Kilkenny v Tipp semi-final for letting a challenge by Tipperary's Padraic Maher on Michael Rice go unpunished.
Rice's finger was so badly broken by the impact that there were only seven pieces of bone big enough for screws to be inserted into. The Carrickshock man has only recently returned to competitive hurling after the injury.
Kilkenny were known to be furious at the nature of the challenge, but did not express such a view publicly.
It is not clear if McAllister's release from the inter-county panel is linked to that semi-final, but, having taken charge of the second most important game of last year's championship, his removal comes as a surprise. He had previously refereed an All-Ireland club and an All-Ireland U-21 final.
The National Referees Committee seem intent on ensuring that officials apply the full rigours of the rules. The reduction in the number of elite referees is designed to ensure that those selected take charge of more games to ensure greater match fitness.
The committee members were disappointed with the performance from hurling referees in general last year, with chairman Pat McEnaney claiming that up to eight red-card offences were missed in the 2012 championship.
In football, Cork referee Michael Collins has been released and is understood to have been replaced by David Gough from Meath.