Dublin manager Jim Gavin believes direct communication between intercounty managers and referees could eradicate ongoing frustrations stemming from the recent high-profile dismissals of Seán Cavanagh and Diarmuid Connolly.
No dialogue is permitted, not even informally, between managers and referees. This, as Gavin noted, is unlike other sports such as rugby, where international coaches have a meeting with the match official, usually 48 hours before a Test match.
“I think you can see the levels of officiating has really improved over the last number of seasons. That’s obviously because they have dialogue with themselves. There is obviously a culture where they are reviewing tape and trying to improve all the time.
“You couldn’t but be impressed by them but I think there certainly is scope for more briefing, just to explain. Just to make the game more consistent. I think managers and supporters want more consistency.
“To that end, I think they could benefit from players’ feedback and managers’ feedback, as much as their own network.
The idea was put to the Dublin manager that he and Éamonn Fitzmaurice could separately have a conversation with Meath referee David Gough about areas of concern ahead of Sunday week's All-Ireland semi-final.
“I know other sports do it as well. Even a brief introduction, ‘How are you doing?’ more courtesy than anything else. But in a longer term plan – pre-season, end of NFL and end of provincial series – there would be no harm for Croke Park to seek opinions or give feedback. And they do in fairness to the county boards but maybe put more structure to it for intercounty managers.
“We would talk an awful lot to our high-level referees within Dublin to get their opinion of how they see things going.
"Seán Walsh from Kerry is head of the referees committee and he is very progressive and I'm sure he might have a few ideas on that."
Connolly was yellow carded three times in Dublin’s last two championship matches, against Westmeath and Donegal, with Westmeath manager Tom Cribben stating after the Leinster final that they had set out to incite Connolly.
“Diarmuid is well able to look after himself,” said Gavin. “I was just stating the facts that a manager said it and a player said it, that they went after him. That was a statement of fact. The point I was trying to make is we just want to see skilful players play skilful football and be allowed play the game with the rules of the game. That’s all we want to see.”
Gavin confirmed the appeal of Eoghan O’Gara’s red card – for making contact with Donegal’s Neil McGee in the All-Ireland quarter-final – would be held by the Central Hearings Committee “over the coming days”.
Gavin also stated that James McCarthy was available for selection against Kerry.
“James is good, he’s back fully training. He’s off the rehab list. Tomás Brady is back.
"The only doubt is Shane Carthy from Portmarnock – he's had a leg injury for the last number of weeks, that's improving, but he'll miss out on selection for the semi-final."