The Wexford manager is convinced his players would have seen the line if they repeated some of the fouls committed in last month’s Kilkenny-Tipperary Division 1A game.
Nobody was sent off in Nowlan Park, but Dunne insists such prominent fixtures are being officiated with more discretion than those among some counties in Division 1B.
“If it had been Wexford, Offaly or Laois hurling in that game in Nowlan Park the other week, there would have been two or three players sent off,” Dunne said.
“We had a man (Richie Kehoe) put off up in Antrim and he didn’t do any worse than Brendan Maher did against Kilkenny and he got a yellow card.
“There are a lot of inconsistencies there. If it had been some of the lesser counties playing that game they would have been down to 13 men.
“Some of the stuff that went on in that game wouldn’t compare to what I’ve seen our lads put off for. Everybody needs to be treated the same.”
Dunne also takes umbrage with Wexford and Offaly not being included in the recent hurling funding announcement.
Almost €1m over five years will be available to county teams in Antrim, Carlow, Laois and Westmeath in an attempt to join the “top 10”. Although the GAA later confirmed €100,000 per annum will be available to share among other hurling counties, Dunne said the league doesn’t reflect the top 10 counties as defined by the GAA’s funding document.
“I’d be very disappointed with our president, Liam O’Neill. They were talking for months about an eight-team tier in the league for months and putting Cork and Limerick up.
“Yet when the funding comes along, Wexford and Offaly are forgotten about. I’d be disappointed with that. I’m delighted for the counties they’re giving the money to, but Wexford hurling has been in the same doldrums as Laois and Offaly. They had an opportunity to help out Wexford and Offaly.
“If they want us in the top tier put us up there with the rest of the teams, along with Cork and Limerick, and belt away at it then.
“The money that has been pumped into Dublin over the years and fair play, they’re reaping the rewards. The top teams are not too worried about the Wexfords and Offalys of this world but the GAA should be.”
Dunne was particularly pleased to see Antrim receiving extra funding. “I have to mention my ignorance — for the first time in my life I really understand exactly where the Antrim boys are coming from.
“Ballycastle is a long trek, a trip we made this year but one Antrim made twice last season. It’s taken me half my life to realise that and I ashamed. They should be getting a hell of a lot more funding. I joked about flying up to Scotland and getting the ferry across to get to Ballycastle but it’s no joke how isolated they are up there. It’s amazing that they keep the hurling going.”
Now in his third year in charge, Dunne has never put emphasis on the league but feels Wexford are “able to compete a lot better now with the top teams than two years ago. That’s progress as far as I’m concerned”.
However, for Sunday’s trip to Limerick, Dunne will be without almost the entire defence that started the qualifier defeat to Clare last July. Tomas Waters (leg), Eoin Moore (ankle), Ciaran Kenny (hamstring), Andrew Shore (broken ankle) and Conor McDonnell (finger) are all out. Kenny and Shore picked up injuries on interprovincial duty. Suspended Richie Kehoe injured his arm in a work accident but is set for a scan on his knee tomorrow.
After seeing his 14 men almost lose an eight-point lead in Antrim in their first game, Dunne was “nearly heading on the boat to Scotland” but they held their nerve to win by one.
They started well against Offaly, scoring 1-10 into a first-half breeze, and withstood their challenge. “We pinpointed our first two games as winnable. If we had Cork and Limerick, you’d be doing well to get a result out of one of them. We beat Antrim by a point and Limerick beat them, scoring 3-26. As regards scoring difference, Limerick have already done enough to top it. All the teams are mindful of Limerick and Cork and the scoring difference is going to be huge because they drew the first game.”