It has been a case of so far, so good for Erin Rovers clubman Barry Buckley who only took up refereeing last year.
The 34-year-old reckons it was a good time to start out on his refereeing journey as the pandemic meant he didn’t have to deal with crowds or how they react to some decisions.
“A gentle introduction,” is how the up-and-coming football referee describes his debut season.
“When you have no crowds or people shouting at you, it’s easier to concentrate on what you’re doing. The restrictions were a blessing in disguise from that point of view. It was just the two teams, the two managements and the match officials. For a new ref starting out, it was an ideal scenario.”
As a new father, a key member of the Erin Rovers senior ‘B’ football team and a St Manchan’s Gaels minor team mentor, Barry has a lot going on at the minute and concedes that he may not be able to give refereeing his full attention this year.
“Refereeing is more of a long-term project for me,” he says.
“It’s something to have when I finish playing. Last year was such a short year because of COVID that juggling refereeing and playing wasn’t a problem for me. I also co-managed the St Manchan’s Gaels minors along with Dean Bracken, but something will probably have to give this year as my wife Aideen and I welcomed our baby boy, Jack, into the world on December 22 last, and we are also planning to build a house in Doon. We’re currently living in nearby Castledaly. You can only play GAA for so long, so the refereeing might have to take a backseat for now.