Why are Munster referees ignored for All-Ireland football semi-finals?

Twenty one All-Ireland SFC semi-finals have passed since a Munster referee was last appointed to take charge of a last four game.

As the referees appointments committee sits down to discuss their appointments for the forthcoming Tipperary-Mayo and Dublin-Kerry games, the startling figure is just one of several statistics that highlight how match officials from the province have been overlooked for major games in both codes.

Not since the 2001 final between Galway and Meath have Munster had a referee appointed to a September decider when Clonakilty’s Michael Collins took charge. 

Leinster have taken nine of the following 14 appointments, Ulster grabbing four, two of them being Cavan’s Joe McQuillan, and Connacht one in the form of Sligo’s Marty Duffy in 2009.

Although Gerry Kinneavy was the last Connacht man to referee an All-Ireland semi-final in 2009, it’s 10 years since Munster had such a presence at the stage of the championship when Tipperary’s Paddy Russell supervised the Mayo-Dublin classic.

Again, Leinster have taken the lion’s share of semi-final postings since then, 10 of 19 semi-finals with Ulster earning eight.

In hurling, the last time a referee from Munster was given the All-Ireland final honour was six years ago when Waterford’s Michael Wadding took charge of the Tipperary-Kilkenny game.

In the meantime, eight Leinster names have been announced — Brian Gavin (3), Barry Kelly (2), James McGrath (2) and James Owens (1).

Announced as referee for this Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final replay, Westmeath’s McGrath is the seventh consecutive appointment from Leinster since Tipperary’s Johnny Ryan was the man in the middle for the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final between Limerick and Clare.

Connacht have not had a semi-final referee since Galway’s Michael Haverty had the whistle for the 2007 game between Kilkenny and Wexford.

Meath’s David Gough, who officiated last Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final between Mayo and Tyrone, and Offaly’s Gavin are regarded as the firm favourites to be given the nod for next month’s finals.


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