McEnaney: VAR ‘will come to GAA’

By Shaun Casey

FORMER inter-county referee Pat McEnaney believes that the GAA will introduce VAR (Video Assistance Referee) technology “within the next ten years.”

The Corduff clubman points to the number of rule changes that have been added to Gaelic Games in the past two decades and believes the introduction of VAR is the next step for the GAA in terms of assisting referees.

“VAR will happen in Gaelic Football, there’s no question about that. I said it when the Premier League introduced it, it will come to GAA, it just takes a bit of time. If you look at all the changes that’s been made this past 20 years in GAA refereeing, black card, Hawkeye, body checking has gone out of our game.

“The standard of refereeing is very good to me at the moment, at national level. The game is cleaner, the sport is a more disciplined sport now than it was back in the early 90s. Is it more entertaining? Well, there’s a question mark over that, but to referee it’s a little bit easier.

“You look at all the changes that happened in the last 20 years, those same changes are going to happen in the next 20, you will have VAR in the GAA within the next ten years, and if not we’re losing a trick.”

The GAA first made the move for technology assistance when the brought Hawkeye to Croke Park back in 2013 and have since added the score detection system to Semple Stadium in Thurles.

Hawkeye recently came in for some criticism recently however as it indicated that Shane Walsh’s first half 45 against Derry was a wide ball. Replays of the shot showed the ball went between the posts and referee Brendan Cawley overturned Hawkeye’s decision and awarded Galway the point at half time.

McEnaney admits there was a mistake but believes the positives of Hawkeye totally outweigh the negatives. “What happened with Hawkeye was a mistake, no doubt about that, but it’s been very good to us.

“People forget this, Hawkeye has been a brilliant introduction to Gaelic Football in Croke Park and in Thurles.

“It takes the doubt out, it’s been brilliant, it’s served us very well. We have a hiccup and then there’s a question mark over it, but Hawkeye can be fixed, and the association was right to pull it (for Dublin vs Kerry).”

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