James Owens will be the All-Ireland SHC final man in the middle for the second year running on Sunday week.
After becoming the first referee in 13 years to take charge of an All-Ireland semi-final and final in the same year, the Wexford man will be first since his fellow countyman Dickie Murphy in 1997 and ’98 to officiate back-to-back finals. Incidentally, Murphy is set to be the HawkEye official assisting Owens on the day.
Westmeath’s James McGrath was referee for the 2012 and ’13 All-Ireland final replays but Brian Gavin took charge of the drawn ’13 final between Clare and Cork that fell between those two matches.
Owens, who was last in action as a referee in the All-Ireland quarter-final between Kilkenny and Cork, also threw the ball in for this summer’s Clare-Limerick and Waterford-Clare Munster SHC games.
It is the Askamore clubman’s third final having been the referee for the 2015 Kilkenny-Galway final. Owens has also taken charge of the 2007 All-Ireland minor final, the following year’s U21 decider and the 2015 All-Ireland Club SHC final.
His umpires on the day will be fellow clubmen James Dunbar and David Owens, Joe Kelly (Naomh Éanna) and Ian Plunkett (Marshalstown). Carlow’s Paud O’Dwyer will be a linesman as well as standby referee. The other linesman is Johnny Murphy of Limerick and the sideline official will be Liam Gordon (Galway).
Carlow’s Patrick Murphy has been appointed for the All-Ireland minor final between Kilkenny and Galway. The Ballinkillen man has this season refereed the All-Ireland senior preliminary quarter-final between Westmeath and Cork as well as the Joe McDonagh Cup round-robin game involving Laois and Westmeath. Murphy’s umpires on the day all hail from his own club - his father Paddy Murphy Snr, PJ Farrell, Francie Dowling and Jason Curran.
Tipperary’s Fergal Horgan (standby referee) and Johnny Ryan will be the linesmen and the sideline official will be Thomas Walsh of Waterford.