Wolfe Tones Mostrim hurler Daire Duggan (who plays his club football with Sean Connolly's) pictured in action for the Longford hurlers against Armagh in the Nicky Rackard Cup quarter-final back in May
Players and officials from Longford Slashers and Wolfe Tones (Mostrim) were furious as their second round clash in the Senior Hurling Championship on Friday evening had to be postponed due to the absence of the appointed referee James McGrath.
The players were out on the pitch at Allen Park and all set to play but were left hanging around for around half an hour as it became clear that top Westmeath whistler McGrath was not going to arrive at the Newtownforbes venue for some reason or another.
According to County Hurling Board Secretary Michael O’Rourke, the referee confirmed during the week that he would be taking charge of the fixture but there was apparently a breakdown in communications somewhere down the line.
James McGrath took charge of two All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final replays, Kilkenny v Galway in 2012 and Clare v Cork in 2013, and is firmly established as one of the best hurling referees in the country.
The following is a statement on the matter issued by Longford GAA on Saturday August 19:
‘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 last night’s (August 18) 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 forwarded an availability test too and received confirmation from the referee on Tuesday afternoon last (August 15) of his availability, we subsequently did not receive any notification to suggest otherwise. A reminder text was also forwarded on Friday evening (August 18).
Longford GAA again regret this matter which was beyond our control.’