NATIONAL Referees Chairman, Mick Curley, has declared himself pleased with the opening round of National Football League fixtures, revealing “no adverse reaction” from the game’s top whistlers.
Curley watched highlights from three of the weekend’s top clashes and revealed his mobile phone has been quiet since the weekend, indicating no fresh teething problems with the experimental rules.
Curley said: “The lads would be onto me straight away if they had any difficulties.”
And the Galway native has now predicted that the rules “could be here to stay”.
Curley said: “I think it’s probably a little too early to make judgement on them. Some people have a negative attitude towards them but let’s see how they get through the league and we’ll have a good idea after five or six games.
“By that stage, players, referees and the ordinary punter will be more used to them. Then it will be time to make a decision.”
Commenting on individual rules specifically, Curley is in favour of the mark, which rewards players for clean catches from kickouts between both 45m lines.
He said: “A lot of people have problems with the mark but it pays the player to catch the ball.
“He has freedom when he comes down to play it.
“Previously, when the player came down, he found himself surrounded and there was no credit for catching a high ball in the middle of the field. As we saw in the Galway-Mayo game, it’s a very good skill but one of the basic skills of the game.”
Curley has also revealed that he will not get the country’s inter-county referees together again until before the championship following a fitness test for top officials a fortnight ago.
He said: “It went very well. If lads weren’t up to scratch, now they have an opportunity to get up to speed before the championship.
“Following the weekend, I received no calls at all, which means that things are going fairly well. Players, managers and punters are giving the rules a chance.
“Everybody has their own opinions but they’ve been given a chance to bed in.”
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved