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Kerry GAA Chair Laments Lack Of 'Consistency' From Umpires After All-Ireland Final Loss

Kerry GAA Chair Laments Lack Of 'Consistency' From Umpires After All-Ireland Final Loss
By Donny Mahoney Updated
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Here we are three days after the 2023 All-Ireland football final. As the Dubs enjoy sing-songs at the Lord Edward with Damien Dempsey and Mundy, the post-mortem continues for the rest of us.

Kerry face into a long winter of pondering. After a middling first half, the Kingdom had Dublin's measure for most of the second half, bar those vital "Championship minutes" before the fulltime whistle where Dublin decided the game.

The 2023 All-Ireland final was incredibly tense, and the match swung on a number of key moments. One of those key moments came in the 55th minute of the game. Kerry were attacking up the Hogan Stand side and Mick Fitzsimons was whistled for a foul near the 22 metre line for an off-the-ball tussle with David Clifford.

Fitzsimons protested to the umpires, and Gough consulted with his umpires before tweaking the call.

As RTÉ revealed on their postmatch show via their access to the referee's microphone, Gough's umpire was in his ear after the whistle was blown to inform him that Clifford and Fitzsimons were equally at fault.


Gough opted to give both players a yellow card and threw the ball in. Dublin won the ball, and went down the field and Paul Mannion eventually scored a point.

Ciaran Whelan said there was a "two-point swing" around the incident. Two points was the difference between the two teams at the final whistle.


Kerry GAA chairman on All-Ireland final refereeing

In his post-match debrief to the Kerryman published on Tuesday, Kerry GAA chairman Pat 'The Bag' O'Sullivan has made some interesting comments on the role of umpires play in intercounty football. He criticised a lack of 'consistency' in terms of intervention from the men in the white coats.

When you look at the inside line, you could see various players being fouled, pulled and dragged off the ball, but the umpires don’t call them out. Then the referee calls a free on the defender inside and suddenly the defender pleads with the umpire and suddenly the referee changes his decision.

When our inside lads plead for protection, and this was happening all the year, the umpires didn’t call those fouls, but it is what it is. We cannot fault the referee as he refereed the game fairly, but all you are asking for is consistency.

Lest the Killarney man be accused of sour grapes, O'Sullivan made it clear Kerry lost because of the small margins, not because of refereeing decisions..

"Today every time we made a big block or put a big tackle in, the ball did not fall to a Kerry man, not all of the time, but it went back to the Dubs," he said.

All GAA fans would agree that the sport would be improved if umpires and linesmen were better-utilised by referees.


How Kerry regroup from this defeat will be fascinating.

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