SEVEN Donegal GAA clubs have no active referee and referees’ administrator Michelle Bennett has urged for that to improve in the coming year.
Last year, 17 trainee referees were trained, but of those only nine have taken up the whistle, six of whom have received monitoring by the referees committee.
Ms Bennett expressed the hope that all 17 would be available to referee at underage level in 2020.
“On a happy note a number of this year’s recruits are now ready for officiating in adult games,” she said in her annual report to last night’s county convention.
In 2019, 68 referees officiated in games, 50 of those at adult level. There were six dual referees and one lone hurling referee. Of the 18 underage referees, two were specific to hurling.
In the past, it was compulsory for clubs to have an active referee.
However, that has now dimmed to a point where seven clubs do not have a referee at present.
Ms Bennett said: “Can I make a special appeal to those seven clubs who have no referee to make a special effort to recruit for 2020.
“Should these clubs not provide a referee in 2020, I think the County Board must have to look at what can be done regarding this problem.”
The referees’ administrator also expressed dissatisfaction at what she called ‘quite a few situations’ where referees had turned up to take charge of a game only to find that the fixture had either been postponed or changed.
She said: “Why games cannot be played on the notified day at the notified time is beyond my comprehension.
“There has been way too much late changes to times and dates in 2019 and most often the appointed referee is never asked if the change suits him/her.
“It is important that the referee expense claim in such instances be administered upon receipt.”
Ms Bennett paid tribute to the four referees from Donegal who are on inter-county duty.
James Connors of St Eunan’s is a National Panel hurling referee, having refereed the Ulster Hurling Club final and Aiden McAleer from Naomh Padraig, Muff is in the Hurling Ulster Academy.
They are joined by Enda McFeely (St Mary’s, Convoy) and Mark Dorrian (Gaeil Fhánada) in the Gaelic Football Ulster Academy.