Last week, we brought you the management life and times of Brian Cody and Kilkenny in the words of Bruce Springsteen.
We could add another after Sunday — “wherever this flag is flown/we take care of our own”.
It didn’t necessarily relate to Cody, who wasn’t publicly expressing any sympathy for Richie Hogan although he may have offered him some words of comfort as the red-carded player left the field on Sunday.
And perhaps his questioning of James Owens’ decision could be interpreted as a backing of his own man.
The lyric is more applicable to the wealth of ex-Kilkenny players who criticised either the referee’s call or, more surprisingly, the reaction of Cathal Barrett.
When Kilkenny sense a wrong, they will fight it. Think back to how the county board fought to quash Henry Shefflin’s red card for two bookings after the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Cork back in 2013 even though there was no suspension attached to it.
There was a principle at stake.
Defendant then, Shefflin turned lawyer for Hogan on Sunday when he insisted his high elbow on Barrett was not a sending-off offence.
He said on The Sunday Game Live: “In real time, this didn’t look a red card to me. Ah look, where is the common sense in this?
"I don’t think Cathal Barrett was absolutely injured. I know they’re going to give out to me for saying this… I still don’t think he hit him with his elbow in the face. For me, it was a yellow card.
"Not by the rules of the game — I totally understand that — but this game was influenced majorly by that decision.”
Shefflin tried to qualify his remarks by stating he was “not saying it because it’s Kilkenny”.
But then he was outnumbered by the dissenting opinions of Dónal Óg Cusack and Anthony Daly.
And when Jackie Tyrrell, similarly outvoted on the evening show, stuck the boot in on Barrett, it no longer felt like it had nothing to do with anything other than it being because it’s Kilkenny.
“Cathal Barrett, for me, went down way too easy,” he claimed. “He made an awful lot of it.”
Speaking to the Irish Examiner today, Barrett rightly took issue with that unnecessary dig by Tyrrell, whose words might have carried a little sourness from the result, let alone the margin involved.
The likes of JJ Delaney on Sky and Tommy Walsh on Newstalk, while finding the red card objectionable, were more measured.
Walsh at least gave Barrett credit for making it difficult for Hogan to tackle him.
“He (Hogan) came in to jostle his man out over the line like you’d expect any corner forward to do, a bit of steel, give your corner-back a bit of hardship. Cathal Barrett, a little bit of a shimmy, a sidestep or something like that.
“I know cameras will show a guy technically hitting a head-high tackle but you have to take into context this isn’t soccer where you play the game with your feet.
"This is a physical game where you are using your hurl, you are using your hands, and they’re up high all of the time.”
On Twitter, Eddie Brennan asked where was the consistency in application when Barrett had cut Hogan’s nose with a raised hurley earlier on, which saw Kilkenny awarded a free but no card for Barrett and the Kilkenny forward requiring treatment.
However, the two incidents weren’t exactly comparable — Barrett, while reckless, was attempting to play the ball first; Hogan was only playing the man.
A more appropriate parallel was Ronan Maher’s dangerous foul on Peter Casey late in the Munster final, which forced the Limerick forward off the field.
Maher could have easily been shown a red but avoided a card. On Sunday, Hogan appeared to have committed to the tackle before Barrett made his second movement.
In the Gaelic Grounds in June, Maher had done the same before Casey was about to dummy him with a hop of the sliotar on his hurley.
Our initial assessment of Hogan’s foul was it being a borderline but that was a real-time interpretation without yet having the benefit of all the various camera angles.
Neither Owens nor his linesman Johnny Murphy had that advantage either but then Murphy was close to the incident and he may also have heard the impact.
Reflecting more on the significance of the dismissal into Sunday night, you couldn’t help but feel for Hogan being the fall guy as Benny Dunne was 10 years ago.
They had provided enough reason to each referee to be given their marching orders but you had to feel for both.
With a late point in Tipperary’s final victory 12 months later, Dunne redeemed himself the following season.
Hogan owes Kilkenny little but he is capable of finishing his inter-county career on a similar high. I’m saying it because it is Hogan and because it is Kilkenny.
When a working journalist has the privilege of receiving a free match programme, the jump in price for the All-Ireland final publication from €5 to €7 is not something we can crib about too much.
Needless to say, though, it was the source of several conversations with supporters on Sunday and Monday.
The timing of the increase doesn’t help when admission on All-Ireland final day has also gone up this year.
Having said that, the matter is not as clear-cut as the 40% hike.
For last year’s Limerick-Galway decider, the match programme was 82 pages — Sunday’s meatier offering was 130.
If anybody believes that the GAA can simply absorb the cost of that rise in pagination in the same price, they are not being realistic.
At least the teams lined out as they were named. That might not be the case between Dublin and Kerry on Sunday and in such a case, the outcry about the €7 will be much louder than that experienced this past weekend.
The augmented programme is part of improving the matchday experience. But is the patron being treated as kindly as the person watching at home?
Croke Park refuse to show replays of any decisions made during the game, yet they repeatedly left images of a deflated Richie Hogan on display. Hard to agree with the moral logic of that.— Shane McEntee (@ShaneMcEntee1) August 18, 2019
In a tweet on Sunday, Meath footballer Shane McEntee raised a philosophical point about being in the stadium: “Croke Park refuse to show replays of any decisions made during the game, yet they repeatedly left images of a deflated Richie Hogan on display. Hard to agree with the moral logic of that.”
In the past, replays of flashpoints were not shown on the big screens as a means of avoiding tension in the crowd but nowadays access to such clips on social media is a lot easier.
From that perspective, the policy needs reviewing as it does to ensure the paying customer isn’t losing out.
In these pages and on Tipp FM this summer, we have mentioned how disappointing the Tipperary support has been.
Outnumbered by the travelling Limerick support in Thurles for the round-robin game and dwarfed by them for the Munster final a fortnight later, numbers were poor again for the Laois and Wexford games.
All the while, Liam Sheedy attempted to keep them on side.
“The people of Tipperary will stand behind this team,” he said following that heavy Munster final loss.
His team had to be bounce back first, though, but it took until that monumental second half against Wexford for that connection to be re-established.
Darragh Egan spoke of the noise made by the Tipperary fans at that game as did former captain Richie Stakelum when speaking to Michael Moynihan last week: “My understanding is that only around 15,000 tickets were sold in Tipperary, while Wexford, who have outstanding supporters anyway, sold 35,000 tickets.
“But when Tipperary had their backs to the wall and started coming back... it was guttural what was coming from the Tipp support, in terms of emotion.
“I would always say — genuinely — that there’s nobody like Cork people to shout at matches, but I never experienced anything like the Tipp-Wexford game.”
Yesterday, there were reports of buses being ordered from all over Tipperary to attend the homecoming in Thurles.
For inspiring such a turnaround but also keeping faith in his own people, Sheedy has to be commended.
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