Brian Gavin is a divisive referee. Given that most referees unify opinion (with both sets of supporters in the crowd regarding them, in most cases, as shite and biased against them) this actually makes him rather a popular ref.
Among fans of bustling physicality in hurling, Gavin is generally regarded as the ideal referee, the template which all other referees should follow. He is frequently lauded for his laissez faire style and his supposed tendency to 'let the game flow' and all that jazz. An avatar of 'common sense refereeing'.
However, there is a tenacious minority who aren't in thrall to physicality in modern hurling. They see the rule of 'common sense' as a damaging development in the long run. They tend to take a dimmer view of Gavin's refereeing.
Among this school, Barry Kelly tends to get better press. Kelly subscribes to 'no such thing as being a little bit pregnant' mode of thinking. A foul is a foul is a foul, essentially.
Donal Óg Cusack unequivocally belongs to the latter school of thought. He confirmed as much in an article in the GAA website in the wake of the brutal Kilkenny-Tipperary semi-final of 2012 - which, it should be pointed out, was refereed by Cathal McAllister and not Brian Gavin.
To me there's nothing manly about some of the dark arts that have been allowed to quietly creep into hurling these days. Fellas kicking each other. Fellas giving each other the butt of the hurley. Pulling at face guards. There's nothing manly about high tackles and pulling and dragging and body charges.
He lost the rag with Gavin in the commentary box during last year's All-Ireland final replay (where he was on duty for Radio One) and attacked him in very, very strident terms.
I don't rate Brian Gavin as a referee. You could say he's been as bad for both teams. He's neither fit enough to be a referee or he doesn't have the technical skills to be a referee. It's a terrible performance out of him.
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He later continued his attack on the Sunday Game the following evening.
Yesterday, Donal Óg took yet another jab at Gavin's refereeing, ridiculing his positioning for both Dublin penalties in the Tullamore replay on Saturday.
Could Brian Gavin be in any worse position. If you picked the worse position for a referee to be standing... He's in the way of the goalkeeper if it comes out and he's in the way of the attackers if they come in.... If we got someone who never saw the game in their lives and asked them 'what's the worst place you could stand as a referee?' and I guarantee you it wouldn't be very far away from there.
And he didn't like him much when he was playing either... Will the hostilities ever cease?