Paddy Neilan to referee Kerry-Dublin All-Ireland SFC semi-final

Kildare’s Brendan Cawley is to referee Saturday’s other semi-final between provincial champions Derry and Galway
Paddy Neilan to referee Kerry-Dublin All-Ireland SFC semi-final

Referee Paddy Neilan will handle Sunday's Dublin v Kerry All-Ireland SFC semi-final.

Paddy Neilan has been appointed to take charge of Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final between Dublin and Kerry. Kildare’s Brendan Cawley is to referee Saturday’s other semi  between Derry and Galway.

Roscommon official Neilan was the man in the middle for the counties’ 2017 Division 1 final, an appointment which was later questioned by then Dublin manager Jim Gavin.

Believing Neilan was inexperienced for the game which Kerry won, Gavin said: “We should probably have got that penalty call that wasn't given. And that's probably a reflection maybe of a very good but inexperienced referee being in that cauldron and not giving it.

"He's an excellent referee, as was the referee we had from Tyrone (Seán Hurson) down in Tralee. But you would have to certainly question the logic behind exposing a referee with that experience in those high-pressure games. I don't think it's fair on them, and there's too much work being put in on both sets of players that games either, one, get out of control or, secondly, that decisions like that call go against you.” 

Prior to that April final, then Kerry boss Éamonn Fitzmaurice took umbrage at ex-Dublin star Paul Curran’s assertion in his "Herald" column that his team should have been ashamed of themselves after the counties’ clash in Tralee the previous month. In the same week, Philly McMahon had mentioned Kerry had replicated Mayo's tough approach to stop Dublin.

At a press conference before the decider, an annoyed Fitzmaurice hit out at the narrative against his team and remarked that Dublin were as physical as Kerry: “Going back to the end of the All-Ireland semi-final last year when one of our players was wrestled to the ground and basically choked. So they have a hard edge but so have we.

“I have never tried to paint us whiter than white. But what I find annoying at the moment and the reason I felt that I had to respond this evening was out of my duty to the players that we are going into the weekend on a level playing pitch.” 

Neither Kerry nor Dublin have scheduled media events ahead of Sunday.

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