Munster referees chief John Sexton claims the GAA are beginning to recognise hurling match officials from the province deserve more high-profile appointments.
Three years ago, the former inter-county referee predicted the All-Ireland final wouldn’t be taken charge of by a Munster man for another two or three years, which has turned out to be an accurate forecast.
The Ballyhea man has reasons to be optimistic that the gap to Waterford’s Michael Wadding in 2010 will be bridged this September in light of fellow Corkman Colm Lyons and Tipperary’s Fergal Horgan being assigned to the Leinster and Munster finals, respectively.
“It’s great to see what’s happening now. We weren’t getting our fair share of appointments but I think with Colm Lyons and Fergal Horgan it puts us on the map again. We had a meeting with Croke Park last year and I think they’ve heard our voice,” said Sexton.
“I think Munster referees are the better referees and they’ve proven to be the most assured and most consistent referees in the championship this year. I’m only in the second year of my term but I think we’ve had it fair so far this year. We’d a new fella David Murnane (Cork) referee the Munster minor football last weekend and Johnny Murphy (Limerick) is refereeing the minor hurling final this weekend.
“We’re getting our numbers up but we need to promote refereeing in all our counties. Tipp and Cork are miles ahead. Limerick are that bit behind as well as Clare, Kerry, and Waterford so I’d be hoping we can push it on. Having our guys at the pinnacle of the games in terms of refereeing will help us to promote refereeing.
“We have guys who have finished up playing who could be referees. We’ve been bringing fellas from the bottom to the top and will continue to do so. David Murnane is an example of that in the Kerry-Clare game. It was a one-sided match but he did a good job.”
Tomorrow evening, Wexford’s James Owens referees Kilkenny and Waterford for a third time in the championship. He is the ninth consecutive Leinster appointment to officiate a championship meeting between the pair.
However, Sexton added: “When it comes to the major finals in September, who knows, the Munster referees might be in the shake-up.”
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