Curley hails brave display by ref Gavin

THE chairman of the National Referees’ Association last night praised Brian Gavin for his handling of the All-Ireland SHC final at Croke Park yesterday.

The Offaly whistleblower sustained a nasty gash on his nose in the opening half after he was accidently struck by Kilkenny’s Tommy Walsh.

He received treatment by medics from both camps before continuing to oversee the epic clash, which ended with a win for Brian Cody’s side.

Mick Curley said: “I am very satisfied with how the games were handled at both minor and senior level. Brian and Johnny (Ryan) did great jobs in their matches.”

Gavin’s facial injury caused a lengthy first-half delay and Curley admitted the scene was a first for him.

“We would like to thank medical staff of both teams who attended to Brian and brought the bleeding under control.

“There was never a case that he was not going to continue. It looked worse that it was.

“Had he been forced off then Barry Kelly would have taken over as referee.

“The rules relating to blood injuries in Gaelic games doesn’t apply to referees in the same way as it does to players. In fact, I don’t think there is a rule relating to a blood injury for a referee.

“If a player receives such an injury he has to leave the field for treatment.

“In this case the referee stopped the game and received the treatment before restarting the match.

“I have never seen it happen before. I think that Cathal McAllister got a nose bleed in the course of one game but I have never seen a referee injured like that. Fellas have often pulled hamstrings and muscles and the like but this was a first.”

And what of the man himself? “I was talking to him after the match. He was in good form. The cut was just on the bridge of his nose. He wouldn’t need a stitch. He is made of tough stuff.

“Pure and simple it was a complete accident.”

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