GREG KENNEDY admits there is an onus on maor foirne’s to ‘behave’ better and to respect match officials and opposition players.
Kennedy, in his role as Dublin’s nominated running selector, was at the centre of a massive controversy when he intercepted a quickly taken TJ Reid free towards Billy Ryan in their Leinster SHC round-robin game against Kilkenny in Nowlan Park last May.
Referee Cathal McAllister took no action at the time other than to order Kennedy off the field, but he subsequently earned a four-week suspension and widespread condemnation for interfering with play.
Ten months on and Kennedy is still fielding questions about the incident.
“I shouldn’t have done it, it shouldn’t have happened but it did. It was one of those things ....
“You just have to draw a line in the sand and there’s not a lot I can do about it now.
“It infuriated some people but nobody got killed or anything like that.
“It’s a pity it happened but we just have to move on and behave ourselves. I think that’s the best thing we can do.”
Unsurprisingly, Kennedy was relieved to learn the motion to disband the maor foirne fell just shy of the necessary 60% to become a rule.
The former Galway defender appreciates why the change was proposed and believes the privileges of the role have to be reviewed.
However, he also underlines its importance from a team perspective.
“I’m not in the best position to be defending maor foirnes, I suppose, but with the pace of the game and the needs of players for information, they need a bit of connection with the sideline.
“I agree it has to be structured and we have to behave as well, (the maor foirnes). We have to respect the referees and the players.
“Going forward, once it’s structured properly in terms of when you can and when you can’t enter the field, if there’s a break after a free and you’ve time to go on that’s fine, but it’s impossible for a maor foirne to get in and out between a wide ball or a score and the ball being pucked out. That’s because the puck-outs are coming so quickly. You might have to tweak that a little bit.
“It’s unfortunate when things are getting a little heated and maor foirnes are involved but none of the maor foirnes go out looking for that.
“Things happen. There are instincts. We’re all not angels but we’re trying our best for the lads we’re involved with. That competition and that fight from our playing days is still there in us. There is still a fire there and you want to do the best for your guys.
“I’m glad that the role isn’t gone but the fact it’s brought up for discussion might see it restructured to suit everybody and protect the game as much as we can.”
At the end of last year’s game, Kennedy was able to share a joke with Brian Cody though the Kilkenny manager was infuriated by the earlier incursion. They crossed paths again in January when Kilkenny and Dublin opened their Division 1, Group A campaigns.
Was there anything said?
“There wasn’t. I’d meet Brian (Cody) at functions and summits and things like that and I’d be a great admirer of Brian’s. We would never fall out over a game of hurling. He’s been a great ambassador of hurling and I wouldn’t like to think there would be any ill feeling or anything like that.”
Dublin face a 10-week gap until they face Kilkenny in Parnell Park on May 10 and manager Mattie Kenny and Kennedy intend keeping the players busy. “Seventy days between finishing the League and starting the Leinster campaign on May 10 (is a big gap). We’ve schedules done out, a couple of pre-season blocks done and another block to do now before the players go back to the clubs.”
The hope is for last year’s captain Chris Crummey to return later in the Championship after undergoing an operation on his shoulder last week. “Injuries are injuries and with the amount of hits that are going in and the pace of the game, it’s unfortunate, but every panel has to deal with it.
“Look at Richie English in Limerick and Adrian Mullen in Kilkenny. Chris had surgery last week and we have to see how he recovers.”