The man in the middle! Would you like to become a GAA referee in County Tipperary?
Are you looking to stay involved with the game as an alternative to playing? Do you want to keep your fitness levels up or improve your current fitness? Could you referee a County Final or even an All-Ireland? Do you want to learn more about the game or give something back?
Becoming a referee offers people, the opportunity to continue in the sport and helps to develop personal skills that are of value in all walks of life.
Current Inter County referee and Ardfinnan clubman Derek O’Mahony spoke to Tipperary GAA Scene about refereeing and why he would encourage more people to get involved.
I am refereeing 18 years now and still enjoy every day putting the whistle around my neck to officiate at a game. it all started when I was younger when myself and my friend Liam Barrett, who now umpires with me, used to do umpire at games locally with Liam’s dad Willie and as i watched the games and gained great experience both umpiring and linesman at relatively big club games the thought in my head always told me you could be that guy with the whistle.
What I love about refereeing since I started is that every game no matter what game it is brings a different challenge and of course the bigger the game the bigger the challenge to you as the referee, some may test your knowledge of the rules, your skills to control the game, your fitness and no doubt your tolerance and patience some days and some days there all tested but to walk off the pitch and be happy with your performance is the ultimate prize. Some might say there are negatives to being a referee well maybe there are but there are far more positives for someone who wants to remain involved in GAA actively
Refereeing has given me a healthier and fitter lifestyle, I am far more active now that I was before I started refereeing, the friends I’ve made within my own division and county as a referee as well as on the national stage are endless and some are lifelong friends, it has now become my pastime.
My umpires have become my closest allies and my most honest supporters and the sense of being part of that team is important. It’s also important to have a supportive family at home and in Margaret, Emer and Darren and I have that in abundance.
The other great fact about being a referee is that no matter what level you referee at there are targets and goals to achieve whether it is to referee at Under 12, Senior County final or in fact inter county level. As a referee you also get to see more games than you may have otherwise so I would say to anyone no matter what your age, refereeing can be for you at the level you desire that level is entirely your choice depending on how you commit to refereeing
For anyone interested in refereeing should at least try it out, there is a great group of referees within Tipperary and there is great support available, the enjoyment and circle of friends within the refereeing community are endless. the buzz of hearing the roar from the crowd at a score, the roar after the final whistle, the fun and craic with your umpires travelling to and from games.
Finally, the sense of achievement from where I started refereeing to where i am now and the changes I have made and improvement I continue to make is what makes it so challenging and rewarding.
If you would like more details on how to become a referee in Tipperary contact your local club or Tipperary GAA referees Coordinator John Ryan on 086 8172752 or via email refereesadministrator.tipperary.tipperary@ gaa.ie