McGrath's a Tipp-top ref!
Hurling final salute for Setanta man
THE call came. Gearóid McGrath couldn't believe it. "You have been selected to referee the Dublin Senior Hurling Championship final," was the message.
His phone started buzzing. He got more texts than X Factor. And he was happy with the way the day went in Parnell Park.
"I was so focused before the game in the dressing-room," reflects Gearóid (pictured). "It was such a big match. I wanted to make sure that we missed nothing.
"Thankfully, it worked out well. Boden and O'Toole's brought such intensity to it, but they were both very sporting.
"I looked at it on the television after. You'd be saying to yourself you could have done this or that better, or spotted something, but they were only small things. You can only do your best."
Gearóid wanted to make sure he kept up with every spin of the sliotar. He's very fit. He does triathlons.
"The likes of the Boden and O'Toole's lads work hard at their sport, so it's important to be very fit at that level.
"I train three times a week. You have to. And if you put in the work, you get the rewards."
Gearóid is a native of Tipperary. He's four years blowing the whistle. He played for Setanta.
He saw the notice seeking new Dublin refs. "I was reluctant at first. Eamon Morris encouraged me and then I made the call to Aidan Shiells.
"I took it from there. I remember doing the course and meeting people like Paddy Power and Frank Brady. They are such lovely gents.
"Things have gone well. I'm enjoying it. And I'd recommend it to anyone. It's a great way of keeping fit.
"You can't beat a good match. I recall doing a Minor Hurling Championship game between Ballinteer and Barróg in Marlay Park. It was absolutely fantastic.
"The match doesn't have to be at senior level to be enjoyable. You can have a fixture in the local park that is just as good.
"For me, it's all about the people that you meet. They are so helpful. OK, you mightn't have the odd bad experience where you'd get stick or whatever, but generally speaking it's a very enjoyable pursuit.
"I feel I have done a good job when nobody mentions me after the final whistle. When nobody is talking about you, you have done alright."
More details on becoming a Dublin GAA referee from Aidan Shiells (087-2442764) and Frank Brady (086-8295068).