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Martin McHugh: Gaelic football may now require two referees

Updated: Monday, 19 May 2014 22:41 | Comments

Referres need more help, according to Martin McHugh
Referres need more help, according to Martin McHugh

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One of the main talking points to emerge from the drawn Ulster SFC clash between Tyrone and Down was why Down's Conor Maginn wasn't black-carded when conceding a penalty for a foul on Mark Donnelly.

In reviewing Sunday's match in Omagh, RTÉ pundit Martin McHugh feels that the addition of the black card sanction adds to a growing list of tasks for football referees.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, the Donegal legend said: "I think the referee has too much to do.Take the Conor McGinn incident where he didn’t get the black card. Leading up to it there was a line ball which was delivered into the square.

"The ref has to watch whether any player was in the square before the ball arrives. He also has to decide whether or not it was a penalty. Was the offence a black card offence?  Does he allow the advantage?

"Even in that simple situation, in my opinion, he has too much to do. Remember, he also has to keep the score of the game and with goalkeepers so quick with kick-outs, that adds to his workload.

"We either have two referees or have younger referees becoming umpires and training then up accordingly.  As of now the refs can’t keep control of all the things going on in the game.

"If you look at soccer, the linesman does more work with regard to giving penalties and the offside rule. A soccer ref can just ref the game and watch for fouls and so on." 

Another incident from Sunday's preliminary round game at Healy Park was the black-carding of Tyrone keeper Niall Morgan and the subsequent awarding of a penalty after Down's Jerome Johnston was fouled.

Arising from that, McHugh added that managers will need to look even more closely at the goalkeeping talent in their squads.

“The goalkeeper is actually the quarterback of Gaelic football. That’s how important he is now.

"When Stephen Cluxton was sent off in a match recently (Allianz League v Mayo) it turned the game completely.

"Cluxton and Niall Morgan are key with regard to their free-taking.
Managers are going to have to look at their second goalkeeper.

"He may have to be used more in the league and even in championship games to get the players out the field used to him.

"Goalkeepers are the last line of defence and the chances are they could get a black card." 

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