Sources close to Tyrone GAA headquarters in Omagh have revealed that the sporting organisation are to offer a radical and controversial suggestion to help ease the current panic over plot space for the deceased.
An emergency meeting this morning, convened after a startling headline in the Irish News this morning over limited graveyard space, resulted in a motion tabled that the GAA in the county employ willing and able recently-deceased Gaels as umpires and on some occasions as linesmen in order to fulfil the minimum requirement for fixtures especially with the imminent threat of strikes from match officials over match-day fees looming large. All umpires, alive or dead, must be between the ages 65 and 80 as the current rule stands.
Our source, who confirmed a doctor was also in attendance to explain the medical side of things, explained how the motion was passed with an overwhelming majority:
“The doctor was was very convincing. He knew his stuff. He says the rigor mortis was perfect for the stance of an umpire and that many supporters wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway. The county secretary added that only those who signed a legal contract before death allowing their bodies to be used for posthumous officiating would be considered, and only if they’d paid up the annual membership fee for their club right up until they expired.”
Our source went on to reveal how a committee member suggested the deceased volunteer could use their club colours, continuing their great club volunteer work beyond the grave. When questioned on how scores and wides would be signalled, he explained:
“Well, an electrician from Dromore said he could wire up lights to their coats so if it was a wide the ref would press a button and red lights would flash on the umpire’s coat, with orange lights for a point and green lights for a goal. It seemed pretty straightforward and goes a long way to call the bluff from the upcoming umpire strikers.”
The Church have yet to respond to the offer but reports suggest they’re open to any solution to solve the overcrowding issue. However, the county’s Goalkeeping Union have voiced concerns at how off-putting it might be for goalkeepers, especially for evening games with a sparse crowd in attendance, to have two dead umpires beside him.
A motion to use the expired volunteers as actual referees was narrowly rejected.