Underage GAA games called off due to shortage of refs


One GAA referee in Donegal took charge of a whopping 76 games in 2018.

There is a major issue with referee numbers in the county, particularly at underage level.

“If we took the adult referee out of the club game, we would not have any football for the underage. This is fact,” Michelle Bennet-Adair, the Donegal Referees’ Administrator reported to last night’s annual Convention.

“Underage refereeing is struggling this year big time and games have been called off because there was no referee available to take the fixture.

“We have to understand that our adult club referees are doing the majority of the underage games.”

Noting that one whistler had charge of 76 games, from under-8 to senior level, in 2018, she added: “This is madness. This will have to be looked at as no referee can be expected to be out seven nights a week.

“Our adult referees are doing the majority of underage games. There are just eight more referees who took underage games exclusively.”

In 2018, a total of 49 referees officiated at adult level in Donegal.

“Suffice to say that the first 30 took an average of 21 fixtures during the season,” the Referees Administrator said.

Ten clubs –  Glenfin, Moville, Urris, Robert Emmets, Setanta, Gaoth Dobhair, Ardara, Dungloe, Na Rossa and Pettigo – provided no referee for games in 2018.

Bennett-Adair said: “I thank those clubs who continue to supply over their quota of referees and I ask those clubs that are found wanting to redouble their efforts in head-hunting new referee talent. To those clubs without a member on the adult referee panel, I remind you that we are recruiting and ready to train,


Sports writer from St Johnston, now based in Letterkenny, with ten years' experience covering sport in Donegal. Was a nominee for NUJ Sports Journalist of the Year in 2010. Honoured by the Donegal Boxing Board in 2016 for his coverage on the sport.

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