A 14-man Tipperary managed to claw their way back to level terms with a goal as ten minutes remained in what would have gone down as a heroic draw, had it not been for the ball appearing to never actually cross the line.
With Hawkeye not offering the option of checking goal-line decision and just points, the referee, Alan Kelly, awarded the goal following the wave of a green flag by his umpire, a wrong decision that former Cork manager Denis Walsh blamed on the lack of qualified umpires at the game’s top level.
He said “these referees come through the ranks with the same umpires. They start at a low level obviously, club level, and then they tend to have a kind of loyal band with them that have been there the whole way through so these guys are given their time and they’ve stayed with the referee, and then when the referee reaches the big time they’re loath to desert them. Sometimes these umpires just aren’t fit for the top level.
“We saw it in Thurles two weeks ago where Hawkeye was called into use a couple of times when it wasn’t needed at all, but the umpires weren’t confident in their judgement”.
“These guys on Sunday made a huge mistake and Brian Gavin, the former referee, had a very interesting column yesterday in the Irish Examiner where he put it bluntly to Alan Kelly that he’s potentially going to suffer in the future if he doesn’t change his umpires”.
While Walsh was critical of the system that is currently in place, and noted the fact that the referees aren’t assigned umpires, they bring their own. These men are not paid for their time and effort, supporting the ref through the entirety of the year, not just during the latter stages of the championship.
Walsh placed some of the blame at the foot of the GAA, and called for referees to be instated as umpires for the bigger inter-county games of the season, to ensure decisions like the one at the weekend won’t happen again.
“That’s the amateur element of the GAA at large. These are guys that have given up their time, and umpires don’t get expenses, they might get a meal on a Sunday but I’m not even sure if they do. Referees get expenses but umpires get nothing, but yet he’s going to need four of them and he’s going to need four of them for the rest of the summer. So unless the GAA takes it out of the referee’s hands, I suppose that’s really the point, for inter-county games they appoint other referees to be umpires.
“There are enough referees in the system for them to appoint referees as umpires and take it out of the referee’s hands, and like in the system that currently exists, these guys are needed by the referee for 12 months of the year, so when Alan Kelly goes back to do ordinary club games in Galway these are the guys who’ll be with him”.