Tipperary county board chairman Sean Nugent has pinpointed the 2010 All-Ireland final as the day when relations with Kilkenny began to deteriorate.
Nugent suspects that Tipp’s victory, which denied the Noresiders a fifth successive All-Ireland crown, has led to heightened tensions between the neighbours.
Since then, there have been a number of incidents in high-profile fixtures between hurling’s heavyweights, culminating in red cards for Kilkenny’s JJ Delaney and Tipp’s Lar Corbett in last Sunday’s National League final. Nugent has also predicted a flurry of red cards in this year’s championship as referees come under instruction to clampdown on dangerous tackling and general indiscipline.
Nugent also believes that other players were fortunate not to receive red cards at Nowlan Park.
On Tipp FM’s Extra Time sports show, Nugent was asked if there is now an increased ‘toxicity’ when Kilkenny and Tipperary lock horns.
“I’d say that there is. We’ve met so many times over the last number of years. And I’d say that the 2010 victory by Tipperary still rankles, to deny them the five in-a-row,” he said.
“That still rankles in Kilkenny and has brought a different perspective to the rivalry in recent times. But it is a huge rivalry. Everybody expected there was going to be huge intensity through the game in Nowlan Park. I certainly expected it and I’m sure referee Barry Kelly expected it as well.
“However, it wasn’t intense as one would have imagined. There were some fair hits, physical ones, some great hurling. It was hugely entertaining but unfortunately we came out on the wrong end of it by a puck of a ball.”
Nugent added: “I would say that you will see a lot more red cards issued in the 2013 championship than you did in 2012. And that’s very obvious because of what chairman of the referees body, Pat McEnaney, said. He stated that there were many occasions during the 2012 championship, in his view, when red cards should have been issued and they weren’t. You can agree with that or disagree but it’s my belief, having heard that, that there will be.”
Nugent also admitted that hurling’s top teams will be schooled by referees regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the white heat of championship.
He revealed: “I think a lot of counties are bringing in refs to talk to their county players, to give them advice on that. I know that’s happening and in Tipperary, we’ve done that as well. It’s probably one of the areas where we’ve had some difficulty.”
Nugent also stressed the need for consistency across the board during the summer, noting Kelly’s umpires had a role to play in the decision to send off Delaney and Corbett.
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