Referees chief Willie Barrett believes match officials can no longer be accused of playing for draws.
The National Referees Development Committee chairman was reacting to the amount of additional time played by David Hughes at the end of the Division 2A game between Offaly and Antrim in Tullamore on Sunday. Two goals in injury time saw the Saffrons claim the win and deny the home side a place against them in the promotion final this Sunday.
The timekeeping, as well as the general performance of Hughes, drew the ire of Offaly chairman Michael Duignan, who could yet be reprimanded for claiming the Carlow referee “all through (the game) wasn’t very good” and “very inconsistent”. Match regulations state that team officials cannot make derogatory comments about match officials when interviewed before or after games.
Barrett was not aware of Duignan’s comments, but he defended the amount of time played by Hughes.
“From what I understand, he (Hughes) played six additional minutes and two extra minutes on top of that for stoppages. He’s well within his rights to play out the time he did, and it’s not his fault that in those two additional minutes there were events that had a major influence on the game,” said Barrett.
“We have been onto our referees for the last two years to ensure they play the full stoppage time and allow for injuries and further substitutions in that time. Most substitutions are made in the second half, so there is going to be more time added on in that half than in the first and the watch is stopped for as long as it takes for that substitution to happen.
“To be perfectly honest, I think they’re doing well with their timekeeping. There was a time when referees would have been accused of blowing up early for the draw, but they can’t be accused of that now.”
Meanwhile, Cork senior hurling selector Diarmuid O’Sullivan will be free to fulfil his role as maor foirne in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship having avoided a sideline ban.
The three-time All-Ireland winner was sent to the stand after he argued with referee Seán Cleere following the Kilkenny referee’s decision not to award Shane Kingston a free in the first half of last month’s Division 1, Group A defeat to Limerick in Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Last summer, Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald also avoided a suspension when he was told to go to the stand during his side’s Leinster SHC game against Galway in Pearse Stadium.