Quirke says sorry to ref for criticising penalty call

CORK goalkeeper Alan Quirke apologised to referee Maurice Deegan at half-time of Sunday’s Munster SFC semi-final in the wake of a controversial penalty decision against the Rebels.

Quirke was furious with the whistleblower who awarded a penalty to Kerry in the 23rd minute following a challenge by Ger Spillane on Darran O’Sullivan. Quirke, and a number of Cork players, remonstrated with the Laois official but the netminder concedes he should not have approached him.

“I thought it was maybe a bit harsh, but the referee has a job to do and I probably got involved with him and I shouldn’t. I apologised to him at half-time. He has a hard enough job to do. I am sure people will judge it on their tv’s whether it was a penalty or not.”

Cork’s challenge was boosted by the fact that Colm Cooper dragged the subsequent spot kick wide.

“I suppose you would be surprised when a guy of the calibre of Colm Cooper kicks it wide. I faced him a few times with penalties. What you try to do is make yourself as big as possible and hope that you get a block on it.”

Quirke believes Cork benefited from their championship outing against Waterford for their clash with the Kingdom.

“The fact we had a championship game under our belt against Waterford helped and for Kerry it was their first game of the championship. We probably maybe went a small bit too far ahead maybe and took the foot off the throttle.

“In fairness Kerry are a fantastic team and we are not going to rule the roost for the full match. They had their purple patch and took their scores when they were on top. They came storming back into it and we had no answer to them there for the last 10 or 15 minutes.”

Despite Kerry’s stirring revival enabling them to finish the stronger side, Quirke discounts the theory that the momentum has swung their way ahead of Saturday’s replay.

“I don’t think so. People might say that but I see Saturday as being a completely new game. There was a few injuries on both teams and there may be a few changes so it is a completely new game. For a while it looked like we might have been leaving a defeated team so we are looking forward to Páirc Uí Chaoimh.”

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