Cavanagh called for second referee in GAA before weekend injuries

“I like the idea of a second referee with some of the stuff that goes on off the ball,” Sean Cavanagh told The42 last week.

Sean Cavanagh appeals with an umpires decision Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

THE ISSUE OF the GAA better protecting its players was on Sean Cavanagh’s mind before he suffered horrific facial injuries during a club game last weekend.

Cavanagh was left hospitalised after taking a knee to the face 20 minutes into Moy’s Tyrone SFC first round defeat to Edendork on Saturday.

He later confirmed on Twitter that “a bad concussion, broken nose and extensive facial injuries” was the extent of the damage.

Speaking to The42 last week to promote his newly released autobiography ‘The Obsession’, Cavanagh called for a second referee to be introduced to Gaelic football to help protect the top players.

“I like the idea of a second referee with some of the stuff that goes on off the ball,” he said.

“It can frustrate some of our top players and skilful players. In International Rules we always had a second referee and you knew the eyes were on you. You couldn’t overstep the mark and that effectively gives good players the advantage. 


“I hope the guys can get it right in Croke Park and move the game so it’s a bit more about attacking and clinical finishing and entertainment.

“I think our game probably does need a few wee rule changes just to try and bring the important aspects back to the play.”

In his book, Cavanagh recounts several unsavoury tales of being targetted on the field throughout his career.

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On one occasion he was punched in the head by an adult supporter after playing in an U16 club game for the Moy against Ardboe.

Later in his career, while lining out for Tyrone against Cavan in the Ulster championship, a defender spat in his face multiple times during the game. 

Source: The42 Podcasts/SoundCloud

– First published 13.30, 17 September

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