Monday 11 December 2017

Lots of hurling refs, but none in football

The list of fixtures from the Leinster Council for last weekend's busy programme of Bord na Móna Walsh Cup and O'Byrne Cup games made for interesting reading as it supplied the names of all the respective referees and linesmen.

And that showed that while no fewer than five Slaneysiders are on the inter-county hurling panel at the moment, there is no representation on the football equivalent.

An all-Wexford trio was appointed to handle the Walsh Cup derby meeting of Carlow and I.T. Carlow in Netwatch Cullen Park, with Justin Heffernan refereeing and the lines manned by James Owens and Brian O'Leary.

Dublin native Gearóid McGrath, who moved to the south-east last year and is a member of the St. James' club, took charge of N.U.I.G's facile win over Westmeath in Mullingar on Saturday.

Barry Redmond was linesman for Dublin's victory over Antrim, a game refereed by another Wexford native, Paud O'Dwyer, who is now attached to the Palatine club in Carlow.

Wexford has always been well represented in hurling, with others like Dickie Murphy, John Denton, Joe Kelly and Seán Whelan previously on the inter-county list but now confined to domestic club duties.

In contrast, involvement on the football side of things has been slim by comparison. Noel Whelan was the most prominent in the late 1980s and early 1990s before Brian White took up the mantle and went all the way to the top.

Syl Doyle also handled a number of big matches before his retirement, while Seamus Whelan and Seánie O'Shea refereed games too at provincial level.

Overall Wexford can lay claim to a lot of involvement on the officiating front in all codes. James Owens and Paud O'Dwyer refereed last year's All-Ireland Senior and Minor hurling finals of course, while Michelle O'Neill and Seán Grant are very active in soccer's SSE Airtricity League, and Gary Conway has made great strides to the Pro12 stage in rugby.

Wexford People

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