Fogarty calls for Croke Park to get ‘a bit of common sense’

Kilkenny selector Martin Fogarty is looking forward to the return of manager Brian Cody after heart surgery — though it will remove him from the sideline.

Fogarty is angry at the GAA’s failure to amend new regulations limiting the number of selectors pitchside on matchday.

“The boss (Cody) will be back, which means I will be back behind the wire unless someone in Croke Park now gets a bit of common sense and changes these match day regulations.

“It’s a pity because it is doing a disrespect to selectors that people are worried that they would be starting fights on the line. I would be more concerned and worried about player welfare.

“The new regulations are basically banning players from getting water: you have two stations and if you go on the field with water there is a fine. The same two lads has to look after maybe 20 hurls and today our lads were strapped because two hurls broke at the clash. I would hope that the people in charge would see that the game of hurling needs four lads on the line and let’s just see what happens.”

Fogarty has played down the significance of moving Michael Fennelly from midfield to centre-forward for Sunday’s League final win over Tipperary.

Usually a midfielder, Fennelly hit two first-half goals to help the Cats over the line but Fogarty said the move had more to do with Kilkenny preserving the current midfield partnership than anything else.

“It wasn’t a big call really,” said Fogarty. “The midfield pairing we had the last day were very good in Lester (Ryan) and Michael Rice and there wasn’t any reason to change it. Michael (Fennelly) often plays there for the club but that’s a different ball game and wouldn’t necessarily influence us but we just felt the way the midfield went the last day it was going well so why fix it if it’s not broken?”

There was a special atmosphere in Nowlan Park on Sunday with over 21,000 in attendance. Did Fogarty and the management feel extra pressure playing at home?

“There’s always pressure and there will be even bigger pressure when we face Offaly in a few weeks’ time in championship.

“The lads don’t mind that, they are used to crowds — it would be nearly worse if the place was empty because you mightn’t get up for the thing, so when the crowd is there it gets them going.

“There was very little time to draw breath. It was tough going and went down to the wire.”

Kilkenny lost JJ Delaney to a straight red in the second half after an altercation off the ball with Tipp’s Lar Corbett, who was also sent off. Fogarty didn’t see the entire incident and was guarded in his comments on the matter.

“You asking me about the ref? I don’t know, I won’t say.

“It’s very difficult but I’d be very sorry to see anyone getting put off and from what I could see there was nothing major going on there.

“I saw the sending off but didn’t see why they were wrestling around the ground, that was all I could see. I didn’t see anyone get hit with a hurl or hit with a fist.

“We, as people involved with teams, don’t like to see anyone get put off either on your team or the other team.”

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