It emerged on Tuesday evening who the referee for this year’s All-Ireland Senior Football final would be, with many fans keen to get to grips with their officiating record in the knowledge that even the slightest error on the part of them could cause their county’s Sam Maguire hopes to go up in smoke.
Clearly, in both camps, the tension and expectation is steadily rising with each passing day.
Following months of hard work, dedication and preparation, the big occasion is almost upon them, and the decision to appoint Joe McQuillan is bound to have pleased many.
His impartial nature and expert decision making has a good history, and there can’t be many complaints of him taking charge of next Sunday’s final.
As reported by the Irish Independent, he took charge of the 2011 final which Dublin won, and so the Dubs will have fond memories of him from that day. However, he was also on duty for last year’s semi-final which saw Mayo overcome Dublin.
Perhaps they won’t warm to him for that, but then again it wasn’t his officiating that resulted in the final score 0f 0-19 to 0-16 that day, it was the men from Connacht’s superiority.
With such a big occasion to take control of, football fans all across the country will be hoping McQuillan has the nerve and correct temperament to be as clear-cut and accurate as possible in his decision making on the day.
And with a good record such as his own, there’s little reason to believe he’ll do anything different.
But don’t forget, the GAA hasn’t been without its controversies this year. A hawk-eye error which denied Limerick a point during their MHC semi-final against eventual final day losers Galway cause quite a stir in recent weeks. The mistake resulted in Limerick being denied a point which had gone over the bar.
It fueled debate over who had called for the use of the technology as well as discovering that the system had been calibrated incorrectly.
Needless to say, this type of incident will give some managers sleepless nights, and although there is no reason to believe that an incident like this will happen on come the final, it’s up to McQuillan to ensure that nothing else within his control happens to upset the event.
It’s a big day for the players; it’s a big day for the referee.
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