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Association need to up their game as Armagh get another shot

By Declan Bogue

In the week when we are about to see the Christy Ring Cup final replayed because of a refereeing and scoring counting error, it is almost hilarious to consider the context of Armagh's second bite at Laois (scheduled for Portlaoise, July 2, throw-in 3pm).

So that's two games in recent weeks that have been screwed-up live on national television, now requiring a replay. Perhaps we might hold off on handing out trophies in future until the referee's report has been examined by the Central Competitions Control Committee.

Once again, top figures are said to be increasingly exasperated with this latest gaffe.

The word gaffe doesn't go near covering it. It's an omni-shambles. Normally by 3pm on a Monday, the national media get notice of qualifiers draw, times and venues.

Over 24 hours later, no announcements had been made. The fixtures and the plans of players and management were stuck in limbo, but nobody cared enough to sort it out swiftly.

The GAA continue to receive much goodwill by being seen as a bastion of amateur sport. But there is a difference in being enthusiastically amateur and in being criminally sloppy. And there's a bit of that around at present.

We should not accept any excuses from the Association regarding time-keeping, substitute-counting and score-keeping. These are officiating basics and should have been taken out of the match referee's hands long ago. Of course, the time-keeping was, winning a vote at Congress, only for it to be kicked down the road in 2014 and 2015.

All of this could have been avoided by extending the remit of the fourth official, or appointing a game commissioner.

How nice it would be if we weren't met with fluffy guff that this can be brought by any unit of the GAA as a motion to Congress. Instead, it needs instant attention and action.

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