When you referee a provincial final it puts you in a good position for later on in the year and both Paud O’Dwyer and John Keenan will feel they didn’t lose any ground after their performances yesterday.
Their displays were different but generally good. Paud had a much better outing than the last time he was in the Gaelic Grounds for the Limerick-Clare game. He gave good advantage to Gearóid Hegarty from which Brian Hogan pulled off a save in the first half. He also showed good judgement to allow play continue for John McGrath’s goal when he had signalled for a free.
The problem for Paud, though, is he missed two close to blatant red cards. Had John O’Dwyer been looking where he was swinging for that high ball with Diarmaid Byrnes, you’d give him the benefit of the doubt but he wasn’t. You can expect that at the next referees’ seminar it will be considered a red card.
Paud was unlucky with the Ronan Maher incident as the ball had been flicked away. Still, Maher followed through with the shoulder and took out Peter Casey. It was a classic example of what the GAA have been trying to stamp out this year and it’s a pity Paud didn’t have help from any of his fellow officials on it.
John Keenan has gone about his business quietly and fairly well. In Croke Park, he played some great advantages like for Alan Murphy’s point in the first half and Diarmuid O’Keeffe’s before half-time.
Liam Ryan could have been booked for slapping twice across Colin Fennelly’s arm but John was correct in booking Damien Reck for his foul on Murphy. He was right too to blow against Kilkenny for TJ Reid’s free as he had struck it too short to his team-mate.
Pádraig Walsh was definitely fouled coming out in the second half and was harshly blown for taking too many steps. At the other end, Enda Morrissey was shown a yellow card for fouling Rory O’Connor for the penalty and it was a good decision.
What was unusual was at the end when John stopped play for a substitute to come on despite play having resumed after a free. He should have ordered Kilkenny’s free to be retaken. It was a strange call.
The problem for John is he won’t make further progress unless he drops one of his umpires. He let him down on a few occasions yesterday to the point that it became almost embarrassing and he will simply have to make the call for his own ambitions.
In Castlebar on Saturday, Jason Doherty and Jarly Óg Burns were correctly yellow-carded early on as was Kevin McLoughlin and Paddy Burns. McLoughlin definitely overplayed the ball for Mayo’s second goal and it should have been a free out.
Apart from that, I couldn’t understand the negativity on social media aimed at Maurice Deegan. It largely came from Armagh fans but it was wrong. There were a few mistakes - Maurice shouldn’t have brought up a free after he had already made the call for one, you can only do so in open play - but his performance wasn’t bad at all.
In Newbridge, Brian Kennedy was black-carded but for what it was unclear. Paddy Neilan must have been alerted to something off the ball. Tyrone had a shot which was deflected out for a 45 but Mick O’Grady remonstrated and picked up a yellow card, later followed by a black.
Cian O’Neill came as far as the end line to remonstrate and was ordered off by Paddy. There was nowhere to go to in the stand so he had to stay at the gate on the line.
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Anthony Daly reviews the hurling weekend with Brian Hogan, TJ Ryan and Ger Cunningham. In association with Renault - car partners of the GAA.