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Should Gaelic Football Refs Be Semi-Professional? James Horan Thinks So

Should Gaelic Football Refs Be Semi-Professional? James Horan Thinks So
By PJ Browne Updated

Both Tyrone manager Mickey Harte and Derry manager Brian McIver have voiced their concerns over the implementation of the black card in the Championship so far.

Harte's main opposition to the new rule has been that it puts too much on a referee's plate. Mayo manager James Horan has similar concerns but he has come up a possible solution; make Gaelic football referees semi-professional.

Quoted in The Irish Times, Horan said:

Refs in Gaelic football, I just think it’s insane what we expect them to do. It’s probably one of the biggest fields in a field sport, with 30 players and they do timing, they do everything and we’re throwing more rules or officialdom on top of what they’re already trying to do. I just think it’s becoming an impossible job for one man to consistently at a high level with the pace the game is now to stay on top and it’s just getting impossible for refs.

I think refs need to be at a semi-professional level. They need to be brought in once a week and maybe do two or three days’ camp after all intercounty games to get a consistency and breed a level of competency there and take all the debate out of it.

The black card was in play for the entire National Football League but as you would expect, scrutiny of the new rule has become more focused in the Championship.

So is this just a knee-jerk reaction from Horan? It was always going to take time for refs and players to fully adjust and the extra level of intensity at which Championship football is played over National League was always going to make things more difficult. And what about hurling refs, would they remain completely amateur while their football counterparts get paid?

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Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

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