Punches appeared to have been thrown shortly after referee Seamus Mulvihill blew the final whistle, following Jamie O’Sullivan’s last-gasp equaliser for Legion. Mulvihill had to be escorted off the field by two gardaí following a couple of heated incidents involving South Kerry players and management in the second half.
The timing controversy at the end followed a 42nd minute Conor Keane free from the stand side of Fitzgerald Stadium, which was awarded but contested by Sugrue on the sideline and several of his players.
Both sides face an anxious wait to see what Mulvihill includes in his report. The county’s competitions control committee may take a dim view of the ugly scenes when they meet tonight.
Sugrue said the tensions at the end were understandable, given what was at stake.
“To be honest with you, there were so many [people] between me and what was happening that I genuinely didn’t see what was happening. I imagine both sides were engaged in it. It’s a county final, there’s a lot of passion, a lot of emotion there when the final whistle goes. ”
Sugrue was perplexed by the amount of additional time played by Mulvihill, which was almost double the two minutes announced over the public address.
“I can’t understand it, because there was no break in play, but that’s the way the ref interprets it. He’s put in charge of the county final. I presume he’s a good quality ref and that’s his call, but it doesn’t seem the straightest call to call two minutes of extra-time.”
Unsurprisingly, Legion manager Peter Keane took a different view of the opportunity afforded to his team in injury-time.
“When you’re inside in that fire, you don’t know what’s going on. I think a minute, whatever it is, it’s splitting hairs.”
Sugrue was also warned by Mulvihill after he exchanged words with a linesman about Keane’s free.
“I had a very good view. So did the man I was disputing with. I’d like to review the video footage, but it certainly looked like it had drifted to the left of the post from my point of view. But, look, they get a point, these things happen in games... The game wound up a draw, we’re not going to complain.”
Keane said his players were “delighted” in the dressing room afterwards and the game will proving a “huge learning curve” for his relatively young side.