Offaly’s Brian Gavin has announced his retirement as an inter-county hurling referee.
Gavin has refereed four All-Ireland senior finals and is well renowned as one of the most respected referees in the game.
Now 40-years-old, he has revealed to GAA.ie that he feels the physical demands of keeping up with the pace of play nowadays has become too much.
The Clara native has stated that he feels now is the right time to hang up his whistle ahead of the 2018 season and that he was proud of what he achieved as a referee.
“I’ll definitely miss it, there’s no doubt, but I just feel I’ve come to the right decision.
“It’s getting harder every year. Even though I’m only 40 I’m still 20 years older than some of the players, so it’s getting tougher and tougher.”
Typical of the driven man who has also enjoyed a stint as chairman of his club, Gavin noted that he wished he could have taken charge of one more All-Ireland senior decider in order to round the number up to five.
“I really enjoyed my time, I had four All-Ireland finals and four Munster finals.
“I’d probably say now I would have liked to get five All-Irelands, but when I started off I would have been thrilled with even one, never mind four. So, I definitely have no regrets.”
Gavin, so accustomed to playing a key role on the biggest days in the hurling calendar, will be remembered by the majority as a fair ref. (Cork fans may still feel bitter about his allowing of play to go beyond the specified added time in their 2013 showdown with Clare, which allowed Domhnall O’Donovan to snatch a last-gasp equalising point to force a replay which they subsequently lost.)
He will also be remembered for a unique altercation with Kilkenny legend Tommy Walsh in the 2011 Liam MacCarthy Cup decider between the Cats and Tipperary.
In an attempt to break up a shamozzle which had developed in front of Hill 16, Gavin got right into the thick of it and took a whallop from the iconic wing-back for his troubles, leaving his nose pumping with blood, and subsequently sporting a heavy bandage for the remainder of the game, which Kilkenny went on to win.
Check out the incident in the clip below: