Darran O’Sullivan lashes out at ‘joke’ All-Ireland semi-final black card

Kerry star Darran O’Sullivan has described his black card dismissal against Mayo and subsequent one-match suspension as a “joke”.

The veteran attacker and 2009 All-Ireland-winning captain lasted just nine minutes on the pitch after his half-time introduction during last month’s semi-final replay loss.

Referee David Gough, who dished out 19 cards on the afternoon, showed O’Sullivan black in the 44th minute, apparently on the advice of one of his officials.

RTÉ TV analyst Dessie Dolan noted at the time that he had seen the incident and that O’Sullivan was “really irate because I think this is a wrong call”.

O’Sullivan sought an explanation from both Gough and a linesman but was ignored on both occasions and subsequently received a one-match suspension for verbal abuse.

The Glenbeigh-Glencar club man said he won’t appeal but is hugely frustrated with how he was treated.

“It just summed it up for me to be honest, the icing on the cake; get knocked out, get black-carded, miss the game having been champing at the bit to get on,” said O’Sullivan.

“Then they hit you with a suspension, even though they don’t tell you on the day what the black card was for. Not even not telling me — ignoring me. I’m playing 12 or 13 years and I’ve never reacted like that before.”

Asked if the suspension was for verbal abuse of an official, O’Sullivan nodded.

“I think so, when I heard, I started laughing and I was there, ‘come on, you are joking me like’,” he said. “I just didn’t have the energy to be appealing it.”

The dismissal came at the end of what O’Sullivan described as a “wasted” season. He blamed himself partly for coming back too early to the county team after winning an AIB All-Ireland junior club title on February 19.

He scored 1-3 for his club at Croke Park in that final win over Rock of Tyrone, picking up a black card that day too, as well as a dead leg, but still featured for Kerry seven days later against Monaghan in the league.

“For me, the year started with what was the end of a great campaign for Glenbeigh,” said O’Sullivan. “I came in then (with Kerry) too soon, probably. I probably thought that like in my early 20s I’d be fine but I was just a bit naive really, I thought I could keep going.

“It’s an annoying thing for me that I feel that I wasted a season. I just wasn’t myself for the rest of it. I was just probably exhausted. I started a new business too, that took it out of me. So I feel like last year was wasted.

“Then coming on in the semi-final, when it was only really the week or two before that when I started playing well, and I felt like I was back to myself, to have that kind of taken away, you don’t just let it go. You can’t carry it forever either but I’d be a bit cranky for a few weeks alright.”

O’Sullivan, a four-time All-Ireland winner and former All-Star, said he is open-minded about returning for 2018. Aside from getting married shortly, he also opened Rosspoint Bar and Restaurant earlier this year.

“I’m unsure, I just don’t know,” he said of a Kerry return. “I have to get married in two weeks so I’ll have a new boss then! I’ll just see how it is.

“I don’t have a whole pile to play now between here and next year. So I’m hoping the rest will do me good. I’m just going to take a break. If Éamonn and the management want me back, I’ll probably come back but they might want to go down a different direction, bring in young lads and so on.”

O’Sullivan admitted it was difficult watching Dublin win the All-Ireland final last Sunday.

“I can’t really understand when I see players from other counties Tweeting about how exciting the game is — how can you be excited about a game that you want to be playing in? I wouldn’t even watch it with the Kerry lads. I’d watch it on my own, cursing myself.

“To be honest, I don’t want anyone to win it. I was half- hoping they’d call it off!”

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