Suspended Waterford star Austin Gleeson, has the sympathy of former Kilkenny full-back JJ Delaney for his red card received in the closing stages of the National League semi-final win over Wexford.
Gleeson was coming back out the field with opposite number Simon Donohue when he hurley made contact, referee John Keenan awarding Gleeson a red card that puts him out of Saturday night’s league final against Cork.
“I was disappointed with the Wexford guy to be honest,” said Delaney.
“It was minimal contact, really. Okay, he shouldn’t have done what he did. A yellow card would have sorted that out. I don’t think it was a red card. I just think that the reaction of players is forcing the referee’s hand a bit. It’s happening too much in the game for the last two or three years. For a referee to do something with the guy who’s falling down as well.”
For Delaney, the incident is just the latest example of a worrying trend in intercounty hurling that has made it’s way into the club scene and is something the he believes should be stamped out.
“I think it’s creeping into the game a bit too much. Lads are shouting and roaring and getting a free because of it.
"It has to be stamped out at inter-county because it filters back down,” said Delaney.
“Now he did strike him – I’m not saying he didn’t – but it was very, very minimal. It was a yellow card. I know the letter of the law you’re saying, striking with the hurl. But it really was minimal. If that happens all across the field there won’t be too many left on the field come Championship. That won’t be a red card in Championship – why is it a red card now?
“I think Waterford were right not to appeal it – take your punishment, that’s it. Maybe it might be a wake-up call for the player himself. Missing a league final because of it. So don’t put the referee in that position again.
"Look, they were 18 points up – all he had to do was turn around and point to the scoreboard.
“I just think it was a very harsh punishment for what he did.”
Delaney was speaking at the SKY TV launch of their Championship coverage. Sitting beside him, his fellow hurling analyst Ollie Canning suggested some steps to help referees ahead of the summer.
“The officials in these instances need to up their game a bit. Let’s call a spade a spade – they’re wrong calls. You’re dealing with human error here,” Canning said. “If umpires, referees or linesmen don’t see the incident, they need to block out the influence of the sideline, managers or selectors, telling them what happened. Some players are more recognisable than others. That can be a disadvantage to them. I’ve noticed over the years some players maybe get yellows and reds on reputation. Officials need to approach the game like they’ve never seen them before. Reputation can get certain cards as well which I don’t like to see.”