Rory Hickey from Clare has been handed the whistle for Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final with Cork (throw-in 4pm). He was the ref for our Connacht semi-final against Galway back in June and he also took charge of our league clash with Cork in April.
His performance in the Galway match was fairly uncontroversial (though perhaps Keith Higgins might want to be on his best behaviour the next day, given that Hickey missed the clout on the ear the Ballyhaunis man gave Galway’s Mark Hehir and so might be in the mood for a bit of retrospective justice) but I recall the home support being fairly agitated about his first half handling of the match against Cork, which resulted in his leaving the pitch to a chorus of boos at half-time. If memory serves me correctly, he also bolted for the dressing room sharpish enough at full-time that day.
Quixotic reffing aside, the one quibble I’d have about Hickey’s appointment is that it’s a Munster official reffing a match between a Munster team and a Connacht team. I’m not saying that a Clare man would necessarily have any great grá for the Donkey Ayters – my Banner County connections have never intimated any fond feelings towards that quarter at any rate – but from an optical point of view it might have been better to go with someone from the other two provinces. But then again, that could have landed us with somebody like our old pal Joe McQuillan so maybe we’re better off with who we’ve got.