Offaly's Gavin favourite to take charge of hurling final replay
THE referee for the All-Ireland SHC final replay will not be named until early next week, but Offaly's Brian Gavin has emerged as the favourite to take over the whistle.
Last Sunday's draw has presented the GAA with a unique problem, as the last time there was a drawn hurling final (1959) it was common practice to re-appoint the same official for the replay.
But that tradition changed in the late 1990s and while it is not an actual rule, the GAA are expected to stick with their current practice of appointing a new ref.
That means Barry Kelly will not get the Kilkenny-Galway rematch, despite the fact that it was largely accepted he did a very good job last Sunday, apart from the controversy over Galway's final free.
And Gavin, who did last year's All-Ireland final and two big championship games this year -- Cork v Tipperary in the Munster semi-final and Galway versus Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final -- is being hotly tipped to take over.
The GAA confirmed yesterday that they are dropping ticket prices for the replay to €50 for stand (from €80) and €25 for terrace (from €40).
The need for a hurling replay has had a knock-on effect on several other All-Ireland final fixtures and means that if there is a need for a replay in the senior football decider it will take place on a Saturday.
The decision to fix the hurling replay for September 30 has resulted in the ladies football final being put back to October 7.
That date was originally set aside to host a senior football replay, if necessary. But the fact that women's football will now be played on October 7 means that the replay date for the men's senior football final has been moved to Saturday, October 6.