Kennedy faces ban, but Mullen plays down ‘interception’

Rising Kilkenny star Adrian Mullen has admitted he wrote off the Greg Kennedy interception debacle last weekend as a ‘bizarre’ incident that occurred ‘in the heat of battle’.

Dublin selector Kennedy, a former Galway corner-back, intercepted a free struck by TJ Reid and intended for Billy Ryan during last Saturday’s Leinster SHC tie at Nowlan Park.

Kennedy has been hit with a proposed four-week suspension by the Central Competitions Control Committee for the intervention.

Kennedy has the option of requesting a personal hearing though if the punishment sticks he would be absent from the Parnell Park sideline this weekend when Dublin face Wexford and for the trip to Carlow on June 2.

Referee Cathal McAllister took no action at the time other than to order Kennedy off the field and Mullen, who made his debut in the battling Kilkenny win, indicated he may have let the matter drop.

“At the time, it didn’t really register with me at all,” said attacker Mullen at the launch of the 2019 Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland U20 hurling championship.

You were just kind of caught up in the play. I heard the crowd roaring but I didn’t really know what they were roaring at. These things happen in the heat of the moment.

Asked if Kennedy or Dublin apologised afterwards, Mullen said: “Sure these things happen, there was no point apologising really. It was just the heat of battle. Sometimes, bizarre things happen and you just have to take it in your stride.”

Mullen admitted he never came across such an incident while on a hurling field.

“I can’t say I did now,” said the All-Ireland club-winning Ballyhale man who scored a point for Kilkenny last weekend.

Reid initially went short with a free in the hope of picking out Ryan who would have had the opportunity to shoot for a goal though Kennedy plucked the pass out of the air.

Mullen said he couldn’t say if Ryan would have gone for a goal. “It’s hard to say, I’d say Dublin were set up pretty well at the time,” said the DCU student. “But then again, who can tell the future.”

The incident may have inadvertently helped Kilkenny as they looked fired up to prove a point afterwards and out-scored Dublin by 2-11 to 0-8 in the second-half. Mullen, who hit 0-5 in March’s All-Ireland club final win, said it was an intense afternoon.

“We didn’t get the best start, they got the two penalties in the first-half and things weren’t really going our way,” said Mullen.

“It was definitely a good game to open the championship with, there was a good intensity to it, the hits were good and fair and it was everything a championship match should be.”

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