FROM ODHRÁN CRUMLEY
The Longford County Board have been forced to apologise to two senior hurling clubs after their championship game was postponed as no referee arrived to officiate.
Longford Slashers and Wolfe Tones were due to do battle on Friday night only to be forced to leave after conducting their warm up as no referee arrived.
Well known referee, James McGrath was scheduled to officiate the game at Newtownforbes with a 7.45pm throw in. However, he did not appear meaning that no game could take place at Allen Park, many believing it too be a shocking indictment of the game in the county.
County secretary Michael O’Rourke was keen to quell such rumours in his statement, to the Longford Leader newspaper;
“a breakdown in communications somewhere down the line” and the board apologised for his absence in a statement released afterwards.
Longford GAA wish to apologise to the hurlers and supporters of Longford Slashers and Wolfe Tones for the failure of the referee to turn up at (Friday’s) championship game.
The system of notification of referees (Servasport) for games be it hurling or football, championship or league/adult or underage, is identical.
Having forward an availability text, and received confirmation from the referee on Tuesday afternoon last of his ability, we subsequently did not receive any notification to suggest otherwise. A reminder text was also forwarded at 5.30 on Friday evening.
Longford GAA again regret this matter which was beyond our control.”
This comes amidst debate around the country at the state of hurling outside of the traditional strongholds. The lack of funding and intervention from those at the top allowing an already wide gap, widen further.