Eamonn Fitzmaurice has claimed Kieran Donaghy was subjected to “rape and pillage” fouling by Dublin defenders in yesterday’s Division 1 final, writes John Fogerty.
The Kerry boss revealed one of the factors behind the decision to move Donaghy to midfield this spring was due to the difficulty he has had in winning frees at full-forward. Donaghy certainly looked to have been infringed upon by Cian O’Sullivan in the penalty area in additional time.
Criticising referee Eddie Kinsella, Fitzmaurice said: “In general, Kieran finds it very hard to get frees. It was part of the reason that we decided to play him out the field during the league because it frustrates him, it frustrates us looking in at it and before the ball comes in he gets a lot of treatment.
“He doesn’t get frees for it and, like I said, it was one of the reasons we decided to move him out the field to give him a bit of freedom and a chance to play a bit of football, which he has done very effectively for us during the league.
“Before half-time, when he was inside there, he caught a ball inside and there was a very soft free given out. There was basically rape and pillage going on inside in front of the goals at the other side in the second half and we didn’t get anything. It’s frustrating but it is what it is. We knew it coming up, we know playing the games that that’s the way it’s going to be and we just have to keep going.”
Fitzmaurice admitted Donaghy’s remonstrations don’t help his cause. “It’s very frustrating when you are being targeted and you are being fouled and you don’t get frees. But it’s not just Kieran; it’s a thing in Gaelic games in general. The big man, the mentality is he should be able to take care of himself and he gives as good as he gets, but a free is a free.”
This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner