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The Missing Referee

The Missing Referee

Croke Park Mice

Written by Ruth Croke and Triona Croke, Illustrated by Audrey Dowling

There are thirty-two mice living in Croke Park, one from each county in Ireland. They watch every match from their tiny mouse holes under the stands. It's All-Ireland final but the referee is nowhere to be found! Can the Croke Park mice find the referee in time to save the day - and the match? 

Hardback: €12.99
Hardback: 32 pages
Size:260x215 mm
ISBN: 9781788490559

Series: Croke Park Mice

Do you know the secret about Croke Park? When there are no games happening on the pitch, the Croke Park mice play their own games there! Right out in the middle of the pitch! 

There are thirty-two mice, one from each county in Ireland. They live under the stands and watch every match from their tiny mouse holes. But on the day of the All-Ireland final, the referee is nowhere to be found! Can the Croke Park mice find the referee in time to save the day - and the match? 

A GAA picture book for children by Ruth and Triona Croke, charmingly illustrated by Audrey Dowling.


Ruth Croke

Ruth Croke learned to read at the age of three and hasn’t stopped reading since! She works in Ireland and New York as a marketing and public relations consultant. She loves all animals and as a member of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, she has rescued many pets over the years. Ruth used to be just terrified of mice, but one day she met a friendly little mouse warming his tiny toes by her fireplace. She suddenly realised that they are the cutest – and most misunderstood – creatures on earth. She decided that she was going to represent them and share their funny stories with the world. Because in the end, she knew that all they really needed was some good publicity! 

Triona Croke

Triona Croke lives between Ireland and the United Arab Emirates. She discovered that all mice behave the same no matter where in the world you happen to be. Regardless of her travels, to this day her favourite destination is her imagination, where she finds all sorts of creatures having remarkable adventures. 

Audrey Dowling

Audrey Dowling is a French artist and illustrator living in County Kilkenny. She initially pursued a career in the fashion industry in Paris but somehow ended up in the Irish countryside. Her surroundings inspire her work, as well as folklore from all cultures, fairy tales and vintage imagery. Her universe is colourful and narrative, often praised as graceful and poetic.

A brilliant read and beautiful illustrations. A must for your little Gaa fans

Donn O’Sullivan, Editor, Limerick Leader

The children in Junior and Senior Infants in Holy Family N.S., Templetuohy were so excited to hear that we had been chosen to review a book for Seomra Ranga. Two days later, “Croke Park Mice-The Missing Referee” arrived in the post! We excitedly read the book and the children then reviewed the book and gave their very honest opinions. The book is set in Croke Park on the day of the All-Ireland Hurling final. It turns out that a group of 32 mice, each representing a different county live in Croke Park! The class favourite mouse was obviously “Tipi”, the Tipperary mouse. The mice are all excited in the build up to the big match until a strange mystery unfolds, the referee is missing! The children were looking forward to reading if the mice would save the day? It led to many interesting predictions and connections. The children really enjoyed the book and practically all gave it 9 or 10 out of 10 marks. The book is very suitable for children in Juniors, Seniors and First Classes. They were particularly taken with the mice characters being named after each county and the meaning behind the names such as “Lily” who is the Kildare mice as Kildare are known as the “Lilywhites” and “Garman” as the Wexford mouse as the Irish name for Wexford is “Loch Garman”. From a teacher’s point of view, there is huge scope for learning more about Croke Park, the GAA, the county names and geography in Ireland and also the County nicknames. These, along with an interesting narrative plot and really cool cartoon-like illustrations lead to a really fun story. The Infants in Holy Family N.S. really enjoyed the book, Croke Park Mice and whole-heartedly gave it a unanimous thumbs up! By Leona Doyle, Teacher, Holy Family NS, Templetuohy, Thurles, Co. Tipperary

Seomra Ranga

delightful … I loved this book, and I think every little GAA fan in Ireland will love it too! It’s written in clear and simple language, and the colourful illustrations really capture the excitement of an All-Ireland Final day … this is a unique picturebook that brings a special day in the Irish sporting year to life in a fun way for children. I think this book will be the first of many adventures with the Croke Park Mice

Inis Magazine

a sweet story about the mice living in Croke Park. They love GAA and even play their own games on a tiny pitch when the stadium is empty. On the day of the real All-Ireland hurling finals, the game is ready to start - but there’s no referee. Can the Croke Park mice find him and get him to the pitch in time? … a lovely introduction to sports games for little ones, and perfect if other family members are big GAA fans. All of the counties are represented by a mouse and have their own personalities. Even if you’re not a sports fan, the excitement is all in finding the referee and getting him to the pitch. The ending is lovely - the mice won the day, no matter who won the match. This was a fun, exciting read and Giselle loved squeaking with the mice!

Milo and Gigi's Bookshelf

beautifully illustrated and a must for children starting to read

Irish Examiner, New York

a fun story, in which our clever mice friends unexpectedly become the heroes of the day, just like the sports stars they admire


Aoife Graham, Hodges Figgis in the Sunday Times Ireland

Teaching Resources: free to view and download

  • Download Activity sheets: Can you spot 10 differences between the two pictures?

  • Download Activity sheets: Help Rossie through the maze to the goal

Also by Audrey Dowling:

Reindeer Down!
Flossie McFluff

Go to author page...

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