Willie Barrett urges GAA referees to stay ready:

By John Harrington

The GAA’s National Referees Development Committee Chairman, Willie Barrett, has urged referees to ensure they’re ready for a return to action if club or inter-county championship matches can be played before the end of the year.

Barrett believes the best mindset for a referee to have right now is to presume they will officiate again before the year is out.

“It’s a very challenging time for GAA referees as well because, like players, we’re in the unknown,” Barrett told GAA.ie “We don’t know what’s going to happen down the road, nobody knows.

“But, at the same time, we’ve got to be ready. We have to prepare ourselves as if we will have a Championship in 2020, be it club or county.

“It may not happen and if it doesn’t it doesn’t, but we have to be ready one way or another.

“There are several different programmes for training and it’s important that each referee does the training that you need to get to up to speed.

“Not every part of the programme might be for everyone because every individual is different, so a referee must conduct his training in line with what he needs to get up to the level required.

“Obviously it’s tough for referees the same way it is for players that they can’t train on their local GAA pitch at the moment, but there’s always someplace you can get your training in.

“And I’d have to complement referees around the country on their efforts because I know they’re improvising and have done that, to be fair to them.”

DCU’s Aidan Brady has overseen the fitness of the national panel of inter-county referees for the past three years and has continued to work closely with them via video conferencing to ensure they’re remaining as fit and focused as ever.

“Aidan Brady has prepared a programme for each referee on the national panel and they’re doing that on a weekly basis,” says Barrett.

“We have a conference call every Thursday evening going back for a few weeks now for approximately 75 referees and we have different people coming in and talking about different aspects of training and mental health, et cetera.

“Last week, for example, we looked at some clips of games in last year’s Championship so we are fully prepared in as much as is possible for 2020 club or inter-county championship if it happens.

“We have to do everything as if there will be a restart so we’re fully ready for it.”

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