Sean Walsh says inter-county referees keen on calls for TMOs

Inter-county referees will step up their support for the introduction of a TV match official in the coming months.
Sean Walsh says inter-county referees keen on calls for TMOs

In December, national referees development chairman Sean Walsh revealed a seminar of Gaelic football and hurling’s leading match officials had given a ringing endorsement to the presence of a TMO official at games.

Walsh had initially been sceptical of the need for a TMO but has been convinced by its appeal in the wake of how HawkEye score detection technology has benefitted games.

He confirmed referees will sit down to discuss options once this weekend’s Congress has concluded.

“We’ve put it back until after Congress with the hope of looking at it in the latter part of the year. We decided because so much was happening around Congress and different motions that we didn’t want to start any debate just yet.”

Walsh’s comments come after Donal O’Grady’s Irish Examiner column yesterday in which the former Cork and Limerick manager called on the GAA to appoint TMOs immediately in the wake of Saturday evening’s Cork-Waterford Division 1A game.

“In Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night confusion reigned at times,” wrote O’Grady.

“Aidan Walsh went down injured and a point, scored by Waterford’s Colin Dunford, went unrecorded on the scoreboard for quite some time, while doubts surrounded other scores.

"A TMO could have viewed replays of the action quickly and given the referee a view of the incident. All a referee would need is someone he trusts acting as TMO.

If the situation regarding penalties and the ‘20 second’ substitute rule could be changed without firstly going to Congress why can’t a TMO be appointed immediately for all televised games?”

It’s possible the Walsh-led referees body in conjunction with the playing rules committee could co-sponsor a motion that would go to Congress next February.

However, Croke Park officials are unconvinced about the validity of a TMO.

Their case in point came in last year’s All-Ireland SHC qualifier game between Limerick and Westmeath when from one angle TV footage appeared to damn referee Paud O’Dwyer and his umpire for recording a goal for Limerick’s Paul Browne. However, a different camera angle, which later surfaced, showed they were correct.

Meanwhile, Walsh has indicated his support for the mark, which is included on the Clár of Congress this Saturday.

If passed, a footballer who cleanly catches a ball on or crosses the 45 metre line will be entitled to a free kick or play on.

However, Walsh warned the measure won’t make a significant difference if goalkeepers aren’t compelled to kick the ball past the 45m line.

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