Goughs believe in keeping lines of communication open at all times
Eugene Gough was part of his son David’s team of officials in drawn All-Ireland final
Referee David Gough and his dad Eugene in Abu Dhabi. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Eugene Gough accompanied his son David out to Abu Dhabi on the PwC All Stars trip and sat in with him on his interview. He is also one of his son’s umpires, a team of officials made up of the family, all of whom officiated at the drawn All-Ireland Dublin-Kerry football final in September.
They go back to the earliest days with David, including club matches when Eugene claimed no connection as a goalkeeper demanded to know who the new referee was.
“‘Who’s that effing referee?” he recalls. “What’s his name; do you know him?’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t know who he is!’ Within three minutes you were in saying, ‘Dad! Dad!’ The goalkeeper was looking at me!
“We have an understanding I suppose because we are a family. We find it easy to talk to each other anyway. We’re always bouncing things off each other all the time. I imagine if I were umpiring for another referee – someone I didn’t know that well – it would be more difficult.”
According to David they embraced technology from an early stage.
“We have our own communications set. We got them moulded in Specsavers for the umpires and myself. The only time we don’t use them is in Croke Park or in Ulster where they have their own special sets. You can’t referee at the level we’re at without having constant communication. We have them now for about three years.”
His father chips in: “They’re very good at club level, give you that contact that you didn’t have before.”
As an umpire, he is positive about Hawk-Eye even though it subjected him to a high-profile review in the All-Ireland final when he had just awarded a point to Cormac Costello in injury-time with Dublin a point down.
“I find Hawk-Eye very good. I think it’s a great system, I really do. I was at the receiving end of a decision in the All-Ireland where I awarded what I felt was a justifiable score but that virtual post that’s above the real post, if you don’t see that at the right time . . .
“What caught me at the time was that the ball is very rarely now kicked directly straight by a player. In the old days that may have been so, but now they’re curved and their curving in so you have to get into the right position to make the decision if the ball hits that virtual post.
“In my case, most of the ball was inside it, but Hawk-Eye showed there was a small sliver of the ball was shaded by the virtual post. So it’s difficult.”