Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Joe Kernan: Room for improvement on big issues

The lack of teamwork between match officials has been criticised at all levels within the GAA recently.

Indeed, it has often been pointed out that in big matches in particular, where there are no less than eight officials in charge, glaring errors are still being made which often leads to controversy.

Rugby is a highly technical sport and yet three officials can take charge of the biggest games, admittedly with the aid of the TV eye in the stand.

Last Sunday though the GAA earned a rare bouquet for the manner in which a potentially contentious situation was avoided and this should perhaps serve as a lesson to referees and other officials at all levels.

The thorny issue of score detection technology raised its head again at Croke Park when Dublin forward Eoghan O’Gara landed a second-half point only to have it ruled as a wide by referee Martin Duffy.

But linesman Maurice Deegan was quick to signal to him in order to draw his attention to what was an error and confirmed that O’Gara’s shot had in fact actually gone over the crossbar.

Dublin went on to win the game by three points but the debate in relation to the use of HawkEye has not surprisingly been reignited.

While Hawk-Eye is a particularly expensive form of goal-line technology, there is no doubt that the deployment of a video camera in the stand is essential now in major games in particular.

But HawkEye will not be used this season although it has not been ruled out completely in the future.

There was a renewed appeal for more effective technology to be introduced after England defender John Terry’s now infamous goal line clearance in the World Cup — thus proving that it is not only the GAA which can find itself embroiled in contentious issues.

One thing struck me while watching the Dublin v Meath highlights — would it not be better to use a yellow ball rather than a white ball given that the latter is apparently quite often more difficult to see when it is in the vicinity of the uprights?

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