CLUBS hosting championship games are to be asked to assist referees when GAA matches resume later this month.
Cork County Board published its revised championship programme this week, with games set to take place from July 24th. The huge number of fixtures is likely to put pressure on referees in terms of ensuring linesmen and umpires are in place and Newcestown official Eamonn Sheehy, who is on the Carbery board referees’ committee, hopes that host clubs will be able to help as when required.
‘We’d certainly be looking to utilise the resources of clubs hosting games,’ he says.
‘We’d be asking the various boards to get help from the hosts clubs to provide a few bodies if the pressure is on.
‘If a referee is struggling to find enough manpower, that the club would help him in some shape or form is certainly one thing we’d be looking at and we’d be asking the boards to help us in that.’
At the 2019 Carbery AGM, the shortage of referees in the division was highlighted by both chairperson Tom Lyons and secretary Donal McCarthy. It was also highlighted that in 2019 there were still a number of clubs in the Carbery division that did not provide referees for the championship programme.
In his chairman’s report, Lyons said: ‘The biggest reason we are not getting new referees is not the abuse but the lack of support from clubs for their own referees. It is getting almost impossible to get referees for championship games because they need full teams of umpires and linesmen with them and clubs are no longer providing those. The clubs will have to step up to the plate in this regard.’
Now, more than ever, given the busy championship schedule that will throw-in this month, clubs will need to supply referees and help out with match officials. Between July 24th and September 6th, there will be 168 group games in the senior and intermediate county championships across hurling and football, while divisional championship will also be taking place.
‘The way we’re looking at it is that there’s only a very small pool of referees,’ Sheehy says.
‘There’s a number of us involved in county board games, then we’re involved in south-west board games and there’s Rebel Óg and the regions branching off from that.
‘You’ve guys doing camogie and you’ve guys doing ladies’ football. All of the competitions are probably going to be running together.
‘Every board is going to be looking for championships to be completed in a very small window and it’s going to be a challenge, no doubt about it.’