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Davy Fitzgerald Calls For GAA To Follow Rugby's Refereeing Example

Davy Fitzgerald Calls For GAA To Follow Rugby's Refereeing Example
By Gary Connaughton

Davy Fitzgerald has certainly had his run ins with officials down through the years. Never one to hide his feelings while on the sideline, this has often gotten him into trouble.

As somebody who has had plenty of dealings with referees at both club and inter-county level, he is better placed than most to see where this area of the game could be improved.

Refereeing is a thankless job at the best of times, although the lack of communication from many officials doesn't help. This is something that the Clare man thinks needs fixing.

Writing in his column for the Irish Mirror, Davy Fitzgerald called for the GAA to follow rugby's example by having referees meet with coaches before and after games in order to have a clearer line of communication.

There's a lot to admire about how rugby referees interact with the teams that they officiate and something the GAA should take heed of.

In the recent Six Nations, for example, the coaches had an opportunity to briefly chat with the match referee ahead of the game, where he will set out his stall on how he intends to ref it while taking a few questions in the presence of the refereeing coordinator.

There’s also an opportunity for a debrief the day after the game. It’s important from a manager’s point of view to understand how the referee saw it.

In hurling, some refs are very good communicators though others look at you with contempt when you query something, even if it’s done in a respectful manner - though I accept that that’s something I haven’t always managed to do.

But I have spoken to referees privately in the aftermath of games in a conciliatory manner and it’s been positive for all parties. There should be accountability on both sides and there’s no need for referees to be snotty as dismissive about it - provided it’s done in the right way.

Having short pre- and post-match briefings for referees and managers, like they do in rugby, is something the GAA would do well to look into.

This would be a major change in the GAA, although rugby has seen the benefits of such a move in recent times.

It would certainly be interesting to see something like this trialled in the future.

SEE ALSO: Limerick U20s Pull Off Stunning Comeback Win Against Clare

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