Ahead of Sunday week’s All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry, Gavin bemoaned the lack of opportunity for managers to speak with match officials.
“I think you can see already that the level of officiating has really improved over the last number of seasons. That’s obviously the dialogue between themselves and there’s obviously a culture there that they’re reviewing tapes and trying to improve so you couldn’t but be impressed by them. But I think there is certainly scope for more briefings (with managers). I think all managers and supporters want more consistency and players as well and to that end I think the referees could benefit from players and managers’ feedback as much as their own network.
“I would have the height of respect for officials. Without them, we wouldn’t have the games and to put themselves in those pressure situations in games is admirable and they need all the support they can get. I think Croke Park is supporting them.”
Gavin wouldn’t see any problem with either him or Éamonn Fitzmaurice getting the opportunity to speak with their semi-final referee David Gough in an official capacity at some stage during the season. “I know other sports do it as well. Even a brief introduction — ‘how are you doing?’ — more cursory than anything else. I certainly think in a longer term plan (be it) pre-season, end of NFL, end of provincial series there would be no harm for Croke Park to seek opinions and give feedback to officials or to the county boards. And they do, in fairness, to the county boards but maybe they should put more a bit more structure to it and point it towards the county managers.”
Gavin continued: “We would talk a lot to our referees within Dublin to get their opinions of what’s out there, the way they see things going. Seán Walsh there from Kerry who’s the head of the referees committee is very progressive. I’m sure he might have a few ideas on that.”
On the matter of Diarmuid Connolly being targeted, Gavin referred to the Leinster final: “Diarmuid is well able to look after himself. I was just stating facts and obviously a manager (Tom Cribbin) and player (James Dolan) said that they went after him so it was a statement of fact more than anything else. The point I was trying to make was we just want to see skilful players play skilful football and be allowed to play the game within the rules of the game.”
Eoghan O’Gara’s Central Hearings Committee meeting against his straight red card against Donegal is set to take place in the coming days. Gavin said James McCarthy is on course to be fit to face Kerry as is Tomás Brady although Shane Carthy won’t be available due to a leg injury.