Kerry: No ‘smoking gun’ on David Gough final appointment

Kerry: No ‘smoking gun’ on David Gough final appointment
Kerry boss Peter Keane with Tim Murphy, chairman of Kerry GAA. Picture: Sportsfile

The chairman of Kerry GAA, Tim Murphy, has said they have complete confidence in the integrity of the process which has nominated David Gough to referee the All-Ireland SFC final against Dublin.

Murphy told Radio Kerry on Thursday there is no ‘smoking gun’ in the way this appointment was made. “I want to quash that. I would urge people to move on from this issue, it’s something we can’t control.”

The Kerry chairman moved to dampen down the controversy arising from the comments of former manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice on Gough’s suitability for the final. Fitzmaurice, guesting on the Irish Examiner Championship podcast this week, believes Gough cannot be seen as neutral because he lives and works in Dublin.

“Eamonn was offering his own opinion, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect the view of current management, team or Board executive.

“Everyone is entitled to their opinion. We don’t have an issue with David Gough refereeing the All-Ireland. The commentary is well meaning, but certain writings didn’t help the matter. We have complete confidence in the process and the ref to act impartially (in the final).”

The chairman was keen to explain to presenter Jerry O’Sullivan the committee process of selecting a referee for the game rather than the issue of residency.

“The national CCC are responsible for everything in relation to fixtures. There is then a referee appointments committee, which is independent of everyone.

They, in their own wisdom, look at a number of factors - experience, past performance in a particular year - and use that as a criteria for selection. They make a recommendation on that. It needs to be said this committee is independent of all counties, they are a group of the highest integrity.

Asked was he surprised at the controversy this week, Mr Murphy admitted: “I probably was. There was a narrative created which built up a lot of momentum without context and background. With individuals writing and commenting, they are expressing a personal opinion. That wouldn’t be the view of the County Board, of Peter Keane or team.

“From our perspective, we have complete confidence in the process and the integrity of the people who make the appointment of David Gough, and in him refereeing the final. These people have decided he is the best person, most experienced, and we respect that.

“It is important to stress the team management has no issue with Davd Gough as All-Ireland referee. Absolutely. He would be seen as one of the most experienced in the country.

David Gough
David Gough

“At the end of the day, the committee, in their wisdom, chose that. We don’t have an issue (with the referee) last week or this week. It is the first time in four years we are in a final, Kerry is a proud football county and we always do our talking on the field. It is a huge occasion for us, for this team that was in its infancy at the start of the season. And it’s a huge occasion for the referee.”

He added that any so-called protest in Kerry at the Gough decision would be “unhelpful in the extreme.“

The Kerry chairman confirmed that a communication has been received regarding Stephen O’Brien and the potential suspension on the black card rule for the final. “We are in the process of compiling the appeal,“ he said, adding a resolution would be anticipated early next week.

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