We have decided to look at the top 5 hurling referees in the country at the minute. We know it’s a very tough and quite frankly you would need eyes in the back of your head sometimes, but we have come up with our top 5 below let us know what you think!
- Fergal Horgan (Tipperary) – At the minute I think he is the best referee out there. He refereed the All-Ireland Final in 2017 between Galway and Waterford, while he was standby referee in 2018 when Limerick defeated Galway to win Liam McCarthy. He has also refereed numerous Leinster Finals in 2016 and 2018, as well as the All-Ireland Minor Final in 2014. I feel he has plenty of more All-Ireland Final days ahead of him.
2. James Owens (Wexford) – The Kilrush-Askamore man is another referee who has experience of reffing on big All-Ireland days. The 42 year old has officiated at all grades over the last few years in All-Ireland Finals at minor and senior and while he also club finals. He has refereed two All-Ireland Finals, the 2015 All-Ireland meeting between Kilkenny and Galway which Kilkenny won 1-22 to 1-18 and then the 2018 final between Galway and Limerick, in which the Shannonsiders won 3-16 to 2-18.
3. Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork) – Kirwan who is native of Offaly but living in Cork is another referee high on the list and is very experienced at inter-county level. Kirwan has refereed two minor finals in 2002 and 2003. The 2002 Final was contested by Tipperary and Kilkenny, the Cats were winners 3-15 to 1-07. The 2003 final saw Kilkenny take on Galway, the Cats won this again beating Galway by a point, 2-16 to 2-15. Kirwan has refereed two All-Ireland senior finals. The first came in 2007 between Kilkenny and Limerick. Kilkenny won by 2-19 to 1-15, in 2009 Kirwan also refereed the final between Kilkenny and Tipperary, Kilkenny won 2-22 to 0-23. He is a top class referee in my opinion.
4. Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow) – The Carlow man and Palatine club man has to referee an All-Ireland Final but his time is surely coming close. He has refereed big championship games over the past few years. His biggest day for sure was the All-Ireland Minor Final between Galway and Tipperary in 2015.
5. Alan Kelly (Galway) – He is a referee that calls it as it is in my opinion. He takes no nonsense on the field and let’s the play flow when possible. Kelly took charge of the 2012 minor hurling final. He has also refereed big championship games in the Leinster and Munster Championship.
Photo credit http://www.wexfordgaa.ie/