Retired Gaelic Football referee, Rory Hickey, has suggested that the GAA should introduce two referees into the game.
The Clare native retired earlier this week when he failed to make the national panel for 2019 following a 20-year career during which he took charge of an All Ireland minor final and a club final.
Speaking to RTE Sunday Sport, Hickey suggested that the introduction of two referees would greatly reduce the pressure on officials and help to cut out off-the-ball incidents.
“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?”
Earlier this week, Hickey revealed to the Clare Champion that he has received a number of abusive letters throughout his career, especially following a decision he made in the 2009 Munster minor final between Cork and Limerick.
He explained to RTE that the letters were sent to his home address where he was no longer living.
“I gave a penalty to Cork during that game. Whether I was right or wrong, I gave the penalty anyway and stood by my decision. Cork won the game [and] Limerick weren’t too happy. I got a lot of attention after that. It was more the written word that time [in newspapers]. There was no Twitter or any of that craic.
“[It was] tough going. Limerick were on the brink of history and I gave what I thought was a penalty. When you look, yeah it was soft. The name Rory Hickey was up in lights in places where I didn’t think it would be.
“The papers all had the same story that there was no way it was a penalty. I think one journalist described me as Robin Hood after ‘robbing Limerick’.
“One guy actually went out of his way to cut newspaper clippings and get words stuck onto the page. This guy was a real professional. My mother opened that and it’s not nice for someone to be reading that.”