Intercounty referee David Gough has labelled criticism of the match officials who controversially sent Kerry captain David Clifford off against Tyrone on Sunday as "unfortunate."
Speaking to Game On on RTÉ 2fm, Gough said that referees are under too much scrutiny from the media after Ciaran Whelan lambasted the performance of Fergal Kelly and his umpires on League Sunday.
Kelly gave Clifford a second yellow card for an off the ball incident with Tyrone's Ben McDonald, but many felt Clifford was not the instigator and that he was harshly dismissed. Gough, however, said that people shouldn't comment unless they know the context.
I think it was very unfortunate that Fergal and his umpire were subjected to such negative scrutiny because we do have to remember that they’re both volunteers – they’re volunteering for the organisation – and as I’ve already said umpires get very little apart from a meal post-match.
They’ve given up the best part of six-eight hours to help officiate at a match and we’re quite lucky as referees to have them. I just felt the negative publicity around an isolated incident, although high-profile, was quite unfortunate.
We still don’t know whether something else happened off the ball prior to that clip. It’s a very short clip and we have no idea whether David Clifford was involved in an incident prior to that and we had to wait until there was a break in play before the incident was brought to Fergal Kelly’s attention or whether he was involved in something directly before that clip started.
Gough also said that referees are stretched in terms of what they can do and called on players to take more responsibility for their actions.
"We do have an awful lot to do. I can only talk about my own recent experience when I was in Castleblaney refereeing a game between Tyrone and Monaghan and there were 16 cards.
"A number of the cards were brought to my attention by other match officials because it’s absolutely impossible for me to referee a game with a 360-degree view and, at some stage, we have to stop blaming referees and put the onus back on the players. Why are they behaving like this? Why are there manners so bad? And why are they constantly fouling off the ball?"