Westmeath's James McGrath Walks Away From Refereeing

You've gotta commend someone willing to stand up for their beliefs nowadays.

Not too many in this day and age are willing to do that but there's no doubt that someone who is, is GAA referee James McGrath.

The Westmeath man has announced his resignation as an inter county whistler after missing out on officiating in this year’s All-Ireland senior hurling final.

Wexford’s James Owens will take charge on Sunday, 19 August as Limerick face Galway at Croke Park, with Tipperary’s Fergal Horgan on standby referee duty.

So McGrath, has opted to exit saying he feels 'betrayed' for getting overlooked. James issued a departure note on his facebook page with a degree of frankness rarely seen nowadays.

'I'm not your second choice nor your backup plan. Either choose me or lose me if I’m not your first choice.” he wrote.

Here is the full text: 'It is with a heavy heart that I make this decision but I feel my decision has ultimately been made by CRAC for me to resign from the national referees panel with immediate effect.

It is final and irreversible given the lack of trust, confidence and integrity by CRAC and I feel betrayed by the association as a consequence given my 18 years of unbroken volunteerism to the association on the national refereees panel but particularly to be not involved in this years Final.'

I wish to place on record my thanks to all my umpires, David Hennessy, David Clune, Tom McNicholas, Johnny Fitzpatrick, Alan Coyne, Paul Reville, Jimmy Weldon among others and thank all the loyal GAA diehards that I became friends with since I commenced refereeing back in 1996 (Maynooth University), Leinster panel ‘98 & the National panel in 2000; officiating in 31 counties, Europe, London, Singapore, New York, Boston & Shanghai.

Also, a big thanks to my dog Bingo who retires with me after all the running since a pup in 2000.

Wishing James Owens & Johnny Murphy, referees & all officials the very best of luck in the minor & senior finals on Sunday, August 19th next. God Bless a chairde, thanks again for all your loyal support and good wishes.'

Best of luck in the retirement James!