DUHALLOW GAA are embarking on a referee recruitment campaign in search of candidates to step forward and take up the whistle.
Its opening Junior Board meeting hosted by zoom reported that refereeing numbers were close to crisis point and there is an urgent need to address the situation.
“The most essential part of any GAA fixture is the referee, without a ref, there is unlikely to be any game.
"Clubs, therefore, must accept their responsibility to assist and identify new recruits, an injection of new refs is imperative and all so important for our programme to be completed in a tight schedule,” said chairman Steven Lynch.
The challenge will a joint approach and for the campaign to be a success, the Duhallow Board plan to co-ordinate a Training Course and appoint a divisional facilitator to support referees.
With pandemic restrictions extended to early March, it will be at least April before playing activity resumes yet Duhallow are drawing up a programme.
Both the Junior A Football and Hurling Leagues will coincide with county leagues over alternating weeks.
Up to 10 teams are pencilled in for the Ducon Cup (JAFL) and nine teams showing interest for the Twohig's Supervalu JAHL, it will require two groups in each league for the schedule to be complete with a knockout phase incorporating both semi-finals and a final.
However, given difficult times and circumstances, clubs are asked to confirm their league participation by late February.
“It all depends on the window that is provided to us. And plans for both the divisional Junior A Hurling and Junior A Football Championships cannot be considered until both Dromtarriffe and Boherbue complete their involvement in the delayed County championship from last season,” said the board chairman.
Meanwhile, 12 clubs are interested in the popular Duhallow Cup, a knockout competition involving all football clubs within the division from Junior B up to County Senior A status. And a call for a hurling equivalent is meeting a positive response with eight clubs showing interest.
The scheduling of both the U21 football and hurling championships is unclear. Normal plans to play football in early spring isn't possible with inter-county U20 championships, third level exams and Leaving Certificate also impacting as will the adult championships at divisional and county levels.
Boherbue delegate Aidan Buckley extended congratulations to fellow club man Steven Lynch on taking up the position of Divisional Chairman.
“Steven becomes the first Boherbue man to hold the position and we wish him well in his new capacity,” said Aidan.