All umpires given the green flag

REFEREES won’t have to change their umpires for this year’s All-Ireland championships after all of them passed the new test earlier this month, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

In an attempt to raise the standard of officiating at matches, the GAA introduced a compulsory examination for the goalpost adjudicators.

The assessment was conducted at Croke Park on May 7. Had any of them failed they would not be permitted to take up their positions in this year’s competitions.

“All of the umpires bar none passed the examination,” confirmed GAA national match official co-ordinator Pat Doherty. “They were tested on protocol and rules in an updated and improved training course.

“They would have gone through this training course before but none of them would have been asked what they learned.

“That is no longer the case and all of them have shown an aptitude.”

Umpiring came under the microscope last year after a number of high profile controversies. In the Leinster SFC final, Martin Sludden ordered his umpire, despite his hesitancy, to award Joe Sheridan the late illegitimate goal that won the game.

Down’s Benny Coulter scored a square ball goal in the All-Ireland semi-final win, something that wasn’t picked up by referee Pat McEnaney or two of his umpires. In the same game, Kildare’s Alan Smith was deprived of what looked on television to be a score but was waved wide.

In the first game between Galway and Offaly in last June’s Leinster semi-final, Ger Farragher’s sideline appeared to have tailed wide although it was recorded as a point.


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