David Coldrick is not part of this year’s panel of referees for the All-Ireland senior football championship, having failed the fitness test.
Coldrick, who hails from the Blackhall Gaels club in Meath, has been one of the game’s most prominent referees in recent times.
Having started out his career in 1994, Coldrick climbed the ladder in the years that followed, before taking charge of his first All-Ireland final in 2007, when Kerry beat Cork.
Coldrick, who works as the head of Actuarial Function at insurance company Irish Life, has gone onto ref three more All-Ireland finals since, in 2010, ’15 and ’20.
His most high-profile game last year was the clash of Armagh and Galway in the All-Ireland quarter final, when he controversially sent off both Sean Kelly and Aidan Nugent at the beginning of extra-time.
He has reffed a number of games in this year’s National League, and also took charge of New York’s clash with Leitrim in the Connacht championship.
That appointment was something of an exception, however, in the sense that it was arranged well in advance of the game due to the time it would take to sort travel and visas.
For the first time in 20 years, Coldrick isn’t part of the panel of referees for the championship. That’s because, as reported by the Irish News on Wednesday morning, he didn’t pass the fitness test.8 April 2023; Referee David Coldrick during the Connacht GAA Football Senior Championship quarter-final match between New York and Leitrim at Gaelic Park in New York, USA. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile
Tipperary referee Derek O’Mahony also misses out on the same grounds, having failed to pass the bleep test. In order to be considered for the panel, referees are required to hit a score of 17.6 in the running drill, which sees them run 20 meters back and forth while keeping pace with a set of beeps which continually increase in pace.
Some are of the opinion that this sets too high of a bar, in that it discounts some of the best referees due to marginal deficits in their fitness and one of the big issues among referees is that they’re not allowed to re-do these tests.
Going back a few years, Brian Gavin, one of the country’s foremost hurling referees, missed out on some games due to the increasing fitness demands.
“Referees are covering between 10 and 12km (per game),” he said after his retirement.
“I think in the 2016 All-Ireland hurling final I covered 11km. I’d be a big broad fella and it would take a lot of work to get me fit but when I got fit I could maintain it.
Coldrick, 47, still has three more years before he reaches the mandatory retirement age of 50, which means that he could return in the years to come.
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