GAA referees running for Pieta House in Darkness into Light campaign
Last Updated: 07/05/20 12:52pm
The second weekend of May is almost upon us. Usually, the intercounty championships would be starting with matches the length and breadth of Ireland.
Fans would be readying themselves to travel in their thousands, would be adding the final touches to their championship preparation, and the referees would be getting everything in order.
Of course, such a scenario remains months away, but match officials are nonetheless marking the weekend for a good cause.
Subscribe to GAA alerts!
We'll send you push notifications so you'll receive all of the big GAA news!
On Saturday, 72 intercounty referees will each run 11.2km - the average distance they would cover in a championship match - to rain money for the Darkness into Light fundraiser for Pieta House.
"A lot of referees would normally be training to pass the pre-championship fitness test," David Gough explained to Sky Sports.
"As a way of marking what should have been the first weekend of championship action, which also coincided with that would have been the Pieta House Darkness into Light run, both of those events have been cancelled, and it was a way of supporting Pieta House, which many of the referees have done in the past, and also marking what should have been the start of the championship weekend for hurling and football referees."
And so the idea was born.
"Chris Mooney (a Dublin hurling referee) set up a GoFundMe page, he contacted all 72 GAA intercounty referees, and it was decided that we would run the average distance covered by a referee in a championship game - 11.2km according to last year's GPS data," continued Gough.
"So in total, that's going to be 810km, which is roughly running from Wexford Park to Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork, up to Páirc Mhic Chumhaill in Ballybofey and down to Croke Park.
"It's not a relay, but referees are encouraged to run their 11.2km at some stage on Saturday, depending what their own personal circumstances are - some of them are getting up to do it in the Darkness into Light part of the morning, and other referees will complete it during the day.
"They're going to send selfies of them having completed it into the group, and we'll update it on the GoFundMe page. It's going to be very competitive!"
The action may be grounded to a halt, but the show goes on for Gaelic games' men in black.