James McGrath, disappointed at being overlooked to referee this year’s All-Ireland senior hurling final, has quit the national referees panel.
The Westmeath official was widely tipped to get the nod for this month’s hurling decider between Galway and Limerick, but it was yesterday announced that James Owens of Wexford, who took charge of the drawn semi-final between Galway and Clare, had been appointed to referee the final.
McGrath refereed this year’s Munster final and the All-Ireland quarter-final between Kilkenny and Limerick, the latter is now likely to have been his last inter-county fixture given his resignation from the national referees panel.
“I'm not your second choice nor your backup plan. Either choose me or lose me if I’m not your first choice,” McGrath wrote in a Facebook post.
“It is with a heavy heart that I make this decision but I feel my decision has ultimately been made by CRAC for me to resign from the national referees panel with immediate effect.
“It is final and irreversible given the lack of trust, confidence and integrity by CRAC and I feel betrayed by the association as a consequence given my 18 years of unbroken volunteerism to the association on the national refereees panel.
After 19 years officiating with James travelling the length & breadth of the country, I'd like to wish him all the best. While I am disappointed, I won't be involved anymore, I wholeheartedly agree with his decision to leave the National Referees Panel.
James McGrath Statement: pic.twitter.com/DGH0FDcJtb— David Hennessy (@MrDavidHennessy) August 8, 2018
“I wish to place on record my thanks to all my umpires, David Hennessy, David Clune, Tom McNicholas, Johnny Fitzpatrick, Alan Coyne, Paul Reville, Jimmy Weldon, among others, and thank all the loyal GAA diehards that I became friends with since I commenced refereeing back in 1996 (Maynooth University), Leinster panel ‘98 & the National panel in 2000.
“Wishing James Owens & Johnny Murphy, referees and all officials the very best of luck in the minor and senior finals on Sunday, August 19th next.
“God Bless a chairde, thanks again for all your loyal support and good wishes.”
McGrath refereed for the 2012 and 2013 All-Ireland SHC final replays.