Donal Óg Cusack was extremely critical of referee Brian Gavin both during and after last Saturday's All-Ireland final replay.
On last night's Sunday Game, he argued that Gavin's laissez faire style of refereeing contributed to the amount of rucks and throw balls during the game, six in all as opposed to two in the first game. The suggestion was that Barry Kelly's style facilitates a more attractive spectacle.
However, during the live commentary on RTE radio, he was even more forthright about Brian Gavin's shortcomings.
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I don't rate Brian Gavin as a referee. You could say he's been as bad for both teams. He's neither fit enough to be a referee or he doesn't have the technical skills to be a referee. It's a terrible performance out of him,
Then minutes later, he pointedly blamed Brian Gavin for the amount of rucks and throw balls.
"what's causing all these throw balls is that Brian Gavin is allowing the use of the free hand. Any hurling man could see it" Donal Óg again — Daragh Ó Conchúir (@RebelDevil71) September 27, 2014
Early on in the game, he suggested that Gavin's refereeing style would suit Kilkenny.
His longstanding dislike of Gavin's refereeing style highlights a philosophical debate at the heart of hurling. Whereas the Padraic Maher's pre-2011 final refrain of 'throw in the ball and then let us at it' is wildly popular, Óg Cusack has long argued against the modern obsession with 'manliness', believing it has strangled much of the flair out of the game. And the illegal use of the spare hand, often ignored by referees, is a particular obsession for Óg Cusack.
He returned to that theme last night on the Sunday Game, though Liam Sheedy, in particular, disagreed with him. Sheedy contended that it was Kilkenny's decision to pull Michael Fennelly back towards their defence and their determination to crowd out their own half-back line that caused so many rucks.