Cork selector Kieran Kingston says the Rebels will appeal the “absolutely extraordinary” red card issued to Patrick Horgan in Sunday’s Munster hurling final.
Horgan was red-carded for a stroke to the head of Limerick’s Paudie O’Brien late in the first half on Sunday, and the Shannonsiders ran out comfortable winners, 0-24 to 0-15 in the second half to collect a first Munster title since 1996.
However, Horgan’s sending off was the major talking point of the game, with many feeling the proceedings tilted decisively in Limerick’s favour when facing 14 men in the second half in very hot conditions.
Kingston also revealed that O’Brien contacted Horgan yesterday to sympathise, adding that he had gone down from the impact of the sliotar hitting him in the face, not from Horgan’s stroke.
“It’s important for us to congratulate Limerick,” said Kingston. “They were deserved winners, they played very well and it’s great for hurling, and for Limerick, that they won a provincial title.
“You could see what it meant to the Limerick supporters to win, and congratulations to them — and to John Allen, who prepared them very well for the game.
“We’d also acknowledge that we should have done better on the scoreboard ourselves in the first half. We had a lot of opportunities which we didn’t take, we’ve plenty of work to do ourselves which has nothing to do with other events in the game.
“We’re not hiding from our own responsibilities as a management team in that regard.
“But I thought the decision to send Patrick off was absolutely extraordinary.”
Kingston added: “I don’t think any of the players, supporters or people watching on television thought it was a red card.
“One Limerick player pushed Patrick away after the incident, but if players see a bad stroke they’re not slow to come in and retaliate as a rule.
“Paudie O’Brien himself told Patrick on the phone he went down with a blow to the face from the sliotar, not from the impact of the hurley, and fair dues to Paudie for doing so.
“We’re not in the business of criticising referees. It’s a very tough job, and you’ve to be strong to be man enough to handle a game in front of over 40,000 people, there’s a lot of pressure that goes with that.
“In that regard I’d just like to think that James [McGrath, the match referee] would be man enough to admit that he didn’t have one of his best days at the office on Sunday, that’s all.”
Kingston said Cork will seek to have Horgan cleared to play in the All-Ireland quarter-final the weekend after next against Kilkenny.
“The referee’s report goes in and we can appeal, and we will certainly be doing that.
“It’s very unfortunate that it’s now on Patrick’s record that he was sent off in a Munster final. I know people always say it about players, but he’s certainly not the kind of individual who collects red cards.
“Last Sunday it was clear: he was going for the ball to knock it down to himself, not trying to strike Paudie down on the head.
“When he was sent off he came over to the sideline and said to myself and Jimmy Barry-Murphy, ‘can you tell me what that was for?’ He was hugely upset by it, obviously enough.”
Referee McGrath was at the centre of another red card controversy earlier this year when he sent off Limerick’s Declan Hannon in the Fitzgibbon Cup semi-final; Hannon was cleared on appeal to play in the decider of the universities’ championship the following day.
Meanwhile, Croke Park chiefs have confirmed that Cork’s All-Ireland SHC quarter-final against Kilkenny will be played at Semple Stadium on Sunday, July 28, throwing it at 2pm.
The game will be followed at 4pm by the clash of Clare and Galway. Both games will be live on RTÉ Two.
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