Being a referee is a thankless job. Every single mistake you make is heavily criticised, while a good refereeing performance rarely receives any form of praise. This is especially true at inter-county level.
Considering how tough it is to be a referee, we should be giving them every bit of help we can. While the GAA can be resistant to any form of change at times, they have brought in things such as Hawkeye to advance the game in the past.
One suggestion that is repeatedly brought is up is to introduce an extra referee, having one in each half of the pitch. This certainly makes sense. We see multiple referees in a number of other sports, such as American football, basketball and Aussie rules.
The size of the pitch in the GAA makes it very difficult to cover for one person, especially in hurling where the ball can travel huge distances in a short space of time.
Speaking on RTÉ's Sunday Sport, former inter-county referee Rory Hickey says introducing an extra referee would be a massive help to our officials.
I was involved in a couple of the Compromised Rules Series as linesman, umpire and stuff.
The Australian lads would come over - one would be in one half of the field and the Irish guy would be in the other half. I thought it worked out great.
If you look at inter-county hurling now, the Clare full-back David McInerney, if he catches the ball on the '21 and the referee is standing beside him, David McInerney has the potential to land the ball on the other 13 metre line.
There's no way in the world the referee is going to make it up to the other end, but if there was a referee in each half, it'd take the workload off the referee. The other guy would be able to cut out a lot of the stuff that goes on off the ball when the play is down at the other end.
I attended a couple of championship matches last year and you wouldn't believe the stuff that goes on off the ball while the referee is at the other end of the field. Two refs makes sense.
It's an easy move, why not?
This certainly seems like a good idea. Reducing the physical exertion required from referees should lead to better decision making, while they would also be much closer to the action.
This is definitely something the GAA should look at.