Malachy O’Rourke admits penalty call was harsh on Kerry

Malachy O’Rourke felt Shane Murphy made a clean, legitimate tackle on Niall Kearns despite his team being awarded a penalty, which Conor McManus slotted to the net.

Malachy O’Rourke admits penalty call was harsh on Kerry

O’Rourke admitted he didn’t see much wrong in what the Kerry goalkeeper did in denying the Monaghan midfielder a shot at goal.

Admiring Jack McCarron’s through ball into Kearns, O’Rourke said: “To be honest, it was a great move. I thought the goalkeeper touched the ball and hit the ball away. Of course, I wasn’t going to run in and tell the referee that.

“We are delighted to get it. I think Niall did...he made a great run in tried to go around the goalkeeper. It looked like that (that Murphy got a touch on ball). But I’m not sure.”

Éamonn Fitzmaurice has reserved judgement on referees going back to the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final loss to Dublin when a critical Kevin McManamon foul on Peter Crowley was not picked up by David Gough, which the referee later revealed he didn’t see as he was blindsided.

The Kerry manager wasn’t for changing his tune here. “I’ve given up questioning referees a long time ago,” he said about Cormac Reilly’s general performance before being questioned on the penalty call later in the interview. “I was a good bit away from it. It did look like it to me that Shane got a flick of a ball. I’d like to see it again but it certainly looked like he got a flick of a ball, it looked like a good tackle.

“But when the call is made, the call is made and you just have to move on.”

Asked if he would have been happy with four points from a maximum of six having played so many young players, Fitzmaurice remarked: “Any time you get points you take them because the league is so competitive. It’s great for the lads to be getting exposed to these games – we’ve had two tough away games against Mayo and Monaghan, and a tough home game against Donegal.

“Getting the lads game time in those sort of situations is a good thing going forward. They learn about the pace, about the physicality of Division 1 and what playing against the top teams is like.

“They learn that if you make mistakes you’re going to get punished.

“They also learn it’s not that big a deal and that if they can survive at this level, they’re well able for it.”

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