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'Disappointed' Fergal Horgan Quits Inter-County Hurling Refereeing

'Disappointed' Fergal Horgan Quits Inter-County Hurling Refereeing
By PJ Browne Updated
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Referee Fergal Horgan said he is "100 per cent finished" with inter-county hurling officiating. The Tipperary man, who refereed the 2017, 2020 and 2021 All-Ireland finals, is disappointed by a "lack of appointments in the last two or three years".

"Disappointing from my point of view that I worked hard over the last few years but haven’t got the appointments from Croke Park which I thought I should have got," the Knockavilla Kickhams man told Tipperary Mid West Radio.

"No one has the right to get any match, I suppose, but in light of the last two or three weeks, we have seen referees get an appointment that didn’t pass the fitness test. That’s not going down well with the referees.

"The Leinster chairman is on CRAC (Central Referees Appointments Committee), and the Connacht man over referees is on CRAC. We feel that we are not getting a fair crack of the whip really in Munster."

3 September 2017; Referee Fergal Horgan throws the ball in between Maurice Shanahan of Waterford and Conor Cooney of Galway during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Galway and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Asked if he feels there is an imbalance between the provinces when it comes to appointments, Horgan replied, "Absolutely, it's huge".


'Referees in football and hurling are not happy'

"I trained there since January," said Horgan, who joined the inter-county hurling referees panel in 2013.

"I done two matches in the League. A man that was was six weeks injured and came back and did three matches. That shouldn’t happen if you were doing your job right.

"Referees are very uneasy. I am one of the referees that stepped away in the last few weeks. Big decision for me to step away.


"For Croke Park or whoever wants to take note of what is going on, it might take one or two more [to quit], but I know for a fact a lot of referees in football and hurling are not happy with the way things are going at the moment. I can see why.


"Personally, I think, at the moment it is a farce what is going on there. I can stand over that.

"I got no response from the referees' chairman or no response from anyone involved in CRAC. [GAA National Match Officials Manager] Donal Smyth gave me a phone call when I texted him the first night. After I texted him to say I wouldn’t be back, he never texted me back


"It makes more room for the Leinster and Connacht referees, that's what I think anyway. That's going on for two years."

13 December 2020; The two captains, Tadhg De Búrca of Waterford, and Declan Hannon of Limerick, greet each other in front of referee Fergal Horgan before the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Horgan added that while he "did love refereeing when I was doing it", he would not recommend it to anyone.

"I couldn't see why anyone would take up refereeing," he said.

"I would personally say to anyone, 'No definitely not [do not take up refereeing]'. At the top level, you get no support.


"I am 100 per cent finished.

"I got no contact from Croke Park the last two weeks. That told me where I stand in their community. My family comes first. I am delighted to walk away with my achievement intact. I will say to anyone that I am disappointed with the way I was treated, and I wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

"I am very disappointed with the way Croke Park treat referees. There is no support there for referees. I couldn’t see why anybody would referee in the future."

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