The GAA have announced plans for a reduction in the number of drawn matches in this year’s All-Ireland Senior Championship in the wake of yet another sold out Garth Brooks show at GAA HQ,
writes Dave Marron.
With almost a million people set to attend the forthcoming Garth Brooks and One Direction concerts in Croke Park, the usual need for gate fees from Championship replays has eased somewhat.
Up until now referees have been issued a mandate outlining the number of drawn matches they must manipulate in a calendar year; however these new plans will see such pressures lifted from referees in the 2014 Championship.
“Our books are looking very healthy this year” a senior spokesperson declared, “We won’t be telling our referees to blow up early, or add a few extra minutes in the hopes of securing a draw”. A separate senior source went further by saying “There will be fewer questionable late decisions in the matches this year. To some degree we’re going to allow referees to officiate in a more restriction free environment, as we don’t have the same need financially for replays in Croker.”
The news has been welcomed by Referee Ewan Kerr, who spoke of his relief regarding the new measures.
“I was always last picked for the team back in the school yard, so I knew from an early age I wanted to be a referee. It was only when I became a GAA official that I realised the job was commission based and my income really depended on how many draws I could fix every year. Thankfully now I don’t have those same worries. I’ll be able to put my kids through college because of Garf and the other Mullingar lads doing these shows in Croker.”
Mr. Kerr spoke at length in regards to the new “Referee Liberation” ruling but refused to be drawn into making comments regarding the alleged racial undertones of the black card introduction.
Croke Park Groundskeeper Benson said “there has been widespread misuse of the whistle by referees in recent years and this proposal should go some way to restoring the good name of the whistle”.
Although implementation of the new initiative is imminent, the GAA have delayed making any official announcement, pending the outcome of The Croke Park Residents Committee’s attempt to challenge the granting of a concert licence.