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26th Apr 2018

Derek McGrath is at it again with touching gesture to retired referee

Conan Doherty

One of the things that probably gets lost amidst the crying echoes of ‘they’re only human’ is actually the reality that these men are big GAA people too.

Many referees and officials you meet all over the country are some of the biggest club men around. When they’re in getting tea at half time, they’re the ones checking up the scores on other games and they’re the ones talking about who’s playing well and what the county needs.

Everyone knows it’s not an easy gig and it’s essentially a no-win job too because somebody is going to to come away disappointed at the end of the day. It’s not to vindicate all referees and certainly not all decisions but sometimes it’s important to remember that they’re just GAA people doing their bit for the cause as well as anyone.

At the start of the year, Brian Gavin hung up his whistle from inter-county refereeing.

After a successful career that saw him referee the 2014 All-Ireland final draw and then the 2016 final where Tipp beat Kilkenny, the Offaly ref called it a day and went with all the warmest well-wishes for both him and his nose.

Tommy Walsh, get to the front of the queue.

Well, the Faithful county native was pulled back for a run-out during the week when he called a challenge game for Waterford.

Anyone who knows anything about hurling will already know that Derek McGrath is a class above most men.

  • His response to a mistake by a referee during the league final must’ve been tough
  • What he said to the Kilkenny goalkeeper before they did battle was telling
  • His gesture to Tadhg de BĂşrca’s parents before the semi-final win last year speaks for itself
  • The writing he had on his hand for the All-Ireland final is a mark of the man

Time after time, Derek McGrath can be seen or heard to be doing these great deeds that only make him more endearing to the public.

The English teacher is constantly thinking of others and, on Tuesday night, he was doing the same again.

After the challenge match, he went up to referee Brian Gavin and handed him a Waterford jersey. It was signed by every player in the squad and given to Gavin as an appreciation of his refereeing career.

“One of the nicest gestures I have ever received,” the Offaly man said.

How many people can say the same about something Derek McGrath has done for them?

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