By Randal Scally
Eric ‘Joey’ Deehan comes from a long line of Clara GAA men who have answered the call to take up the whistle.
Umpiring for four-time All-Ireland SHC referee Brian Gavin gave Eric – or Joey as he’s better known – a taste for match officiating and ultimately led to him becoming a referee himself. A referee in both codes, he has ambitions to follow in his famous clubmate’s footsteps at inter-county level and has already taken the first step by joining the Leinster panel of hurling referees.
STILL PLAYING HURLING AND FOOTBALL
“I still play hurling and football for my club, but hurling would be my first love,” the 31-year-old says.
“My ambition is to ref senior ‘A’ hurling and football championship matches in Offaly, and to make the step-up to the big stage. I think there’s a better opportunity for me to do that by focusing on hurling at inter-county level because there are far less hurling referees than football. I’ve been on the Leinster panel for the past couple of years, but I’d probably need to give up playing to give refereeing my full attention.
“If the club wins the senior ‘B’ football championship this year, I might consider hanging up my boots and going at the refereeing full-time. I thoroughly enjoy it and want to see how far I can go. I need something to aim for.