By John Fogarty
Davy Fitzgerald slammed the refereeing performance of James McGrath on Saturday.
The livid Wexford manager questioned the Westmeath match official’s free count in the scoring zone (inside the 65-metre line), which strongly favoured Kilkenny, while he claimed his team were denied a few obvious frees.
“It’s not right,” he blasted. “I think I’m wasting my time in this job. I’m not going to say why but I feel I’m wasting my time.”
Coaxed to explain his comments, Fitzgerald said: “Just go back and look at it. I’m not getting into it. Fair play to Kilkenny, they won and they fought back hard. I’d never have a problem with Kilkenny. I admire their style...
“But the amount of frees given in one half (of the field) and they’re not given as easy in the other half. That’s fact. We might as well waste our time if it’s not 100% across the board. They disallowed Paul Morris’ point… fine after he getting thumped and reacting back. I’m disappointed in that.”
Fitzgerald was pleased with his team’s display but during the course of the interview returned to his difficulty with the officiating.
“When something bothers me, I’ll say it. You tell the truth and how you see things and I think that’s very important.
“I’m not saying that that (officiating) beat us but it’s hard to take when I saw three things in front of me where a free could have been given. Yet if you look at where the frees were scored from, I can guarantee you they got a lot more scores from their frees than we did ours.”
Meanwhile, Brian Cody revealed that he will have plenty to say about the new hurling championship structure once Kilkenny’s season is over.
Cody, who has indicated he is no fan of the system, bemoaned the impact it has had on clubs and county players.
“My thoughts on it are that it’s not the right time for me to be saying it but the thing needs to be looked at more so from a clubs’ point of view and from the toughness on players. I’d be very strong on questioning why there are no club matches; we would always have had club matches non-stop here in Kilkenny, every month lads playing crucial matches and clubs playing with their county players but it’s not happening for them. I have to focus on what’s in front of us with the county team. But I would have no problem giving my views on it (the new structures) later on.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.