David Gough was the right man for this All-Ireland final — I maintained that from a good bit out — and seeing him give one of the best refereeing displays in a football final wasn’t unexpected.
In pressurised circumstances, he showed confidence and his decision-making has to be applauded.
Like David, I’m basing my analysis having been at the game and without the benefit of video replays, and in real time he was excellent.
Both sets of fans will have grievances but in a game like this, there was always going to be quibbles.
The big talking point obviously was the red card shown to Jonny Cooper for a second yellow card, but Cooper knows what he did was enough to be dismissed.
After picking up the first yellow for persistent fouling on David Clifford, the Kerry forward then put his body in front of Cooper who then held Clifford’s arm and pulled him to the ground.
It was the correct sanction and anybody saying otherwise doesn’t appreciate the rules of the game.
Now, Tom O’Sullivan was mighty close to following him off in the second half. He had picked up a yellow card for a foul on Con O’Callaghan.
The major difference here is O’Sullivan was entitled to be ticked or noted for a foul after the yellow providing it wasn’t a bookable offence.
Dublin fans will be angry he didn’t also see the line but it looked in the moment to be the right call.
For the yellow card, it seemed as if David was playing advantage because the first infringement might have happened inside the parallelogram. However, it’s extremely hard to give a penalty having giving the advantage.
I was at the 2011 final between these counties and what I couldn’t get over was the amount of fouling by the Dublin players off the ball.
David wasn’t allowing that here and John Small and James McCarthy were penalised for such offences against Seán O’Shea — to be fair, the McCarthy foul on him was a great spot by the referee.
All the yellow cards, from the Cooper fouls to the one for Small on O’Shea, were justified.
The bookings at the end for O’Shea and Paul Geaney for holding back Paddy Small were on the money, as was the double for Brian Howard and David Clifford after linesman Conor Lane had notified David that they were wrestling on the ground.
Gavin Crowley was also booked for kicking Con O’Callaghan but it was with minimal force and not a black or a red.
Kerry will feel too that they should have earned a second penalty when Stephen O’Brien was challenged by Jack McCaffrey early in the second half. David looked to be allowing play to develop and Dublin won back the ball but it was a 50-50 call.
The only disappointment of the day for me was David’s roving umpire at both ends. With HawkEye in Croke Park, there is no need for his assistants to do that and as it turned out those at the Davin Stand end were caught out by the score detection technology for the Cormac Costello effort in the closing stages.
Each umpire should be behind the posts so as to determine to flight of the ball.
After all that was said about him before, David went out to referee this game to the best of his abilities and he did just that, showing that any suggestion of bias was incorrect. He was awarded this game on merit as he showed in his handling of it.
Now for the replay and the aforementioned Conor Lane is best placed as he is refereeing with the same confidence and ability as David.
Dublin should have no doubts about a Cork man officiating this time around.
Like David, Conor would be going out to do the best for himself, his family and club.
Quirke's Final Podcast: Kerry learn on the job. Gavin's gaffe. 'O'Shea is a joke'. Gough's big calls