THE ISSUE OF whether there should be a second referee in hurling is one which has gotten considerable traction of late.
Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald is an example of one high-profile figure who supports the idea. Speaking recently, Fitzgerald suggested that the current format does the officials no favours.
“I think the referees are under a lot of pressure. With the way the game is moving, maybe is it time to look at a second ref at the other side of the field?
“I remember we had a game, my first year with Clare. Our full-back (Cian Dillon) was held by a forward (Waterford’s Eoin Kelly). He pulled his helmet down… My man grabbed onto him after that because he was blinded and it was a penalty. But the first instance wasn’t seen and how was the ref to see it — he was maybe 60 yards away? It’s very hard, with the speed of our game, for the referee to be up and down and not be allowed talk to his umpires and stuff like that.”
However, Fitzgerald does not believe that, in general, the game needs to be substantially revolutionised, given its growing popularity in recent times.
“I wouldn’t have radical changes — the game is good. Last year even, it touched a lot of people outside of Ireland. I think we’re in a good place with our game. Apart from [the referee issue], our game is strong.
“I wouldn’t go mad on stuff. The amount of frees, I would just say to them, you don’t have to blow for everything and anything. If it’s a free, it’s a free and not to dole out… I thought in the League we doled out yellow cards pretty handy, you know? Just let it go — once you’re not favouring one team, that’s fine.”
With all that in mind, do you think there should be a second referee in hurling?