The GAA have now confirmed who’ll be refereeing this coming weekend’s All-Ireland football quarter-finals and our one is set to be handled by Maurice Deegan from Laois. Meath’s Cormac Reilly will take charge of the all-Leinster clash between Dublin and Laois, our old pal Joe McQuillan from Cavan will do the Cork/Kildare match while Sligo’s Marty Duffy has been handed the potentially combustible Kerry v Donegal tie. Thanks to the Irish Examiner’s John Fogarty for this info.
The news of Deegan’s appointment (he’s the only ref from one of the counties left in the championship to take charge of a quarter-final, by the way, and he’s also been given a match in the side of the draw that Laois are involved in; I’m not saying this necessarily means anything, just observing how strange it is that it’s happening) won’t be universally lauded within the county. As well as being the lineseman who magically managed to see that Eoghan O’Gara point in the Leinster final without looking at the big screen at all at all, Deegan should be easily remembered as the limp-wristed official who made an utter hames of our league final meeting with Cork. Seeing as next Saturday will be our first outing at HQ since that unhappy day in April, it’s more than a little disappointing to see the same gent will be taking charge of proceedings again.
In truth, Cork always had our number that day and the ref’s poor performance didn’t affect the outcome but the way he allowed the thuggishness of Cadogan and O’Leary to go unpunished still leaves a sour taste. It’s also, one assumes, a point that’ll be noted by Wee James and his backroom team up North as they plan for the Mournemen’s first ever meeting with our lads in the championship.
At least our own backroom team will be able to use that unhappy experience, as well as what else we know of Deegan’s refereeing style – he also took charge of our league match with Armagh in March – and can plan accordingly. If the league final is anything to go by, all manner of unprovoked assaults on the opposition should arguably be the order of the day.
There’s no word yet (none that I can find at any rate) of who will be reffing the minors’ All-Ireland quarter-final against Tipperary on Saturday but I’ll post details here once this is known.
UPDATE: It’s now been confirmed that Kildare’s Fergal Barry (a new name to me) will take charge of the minor quarter-final with Tipperary.