‘Ref comments were measured’

Eamonn Fitzmaurice admits he went too far in suggesting David Coldrick’s assistants may have refereed the game better than the Meath man on Saturday.

In welcoming the appointment of Maggie Farrelly, who acting as sideline official on Saturday became the first female to officiate at a men’s senior inter-county game in Croke Park, Fitzmaurice said: “It’s a good step. She might have done a better job on refereeing the match maybe.”

Expanding on his comments, the Kerry manager said: “It was a throwaway comment at the end (of the interview). The point I was making was she or any of the linesman might have done a better job. I shouldn’t have said that because I had already made my comments about the referee and thought I had been quite measured.”

Fitzmaurice spared no rod for his substitute Aidan O’Mahony who simulated a foul in injury-time as Kerry chased an equaliser. It brought back memories of his infamous encounter with Donncha O’Connor in the first All-Ireland semi-final with Cork in 2008. However, he indicated there were more judgments that erroneously went against his team. “Technically, a dive is a yellow card. Aidan was trying to win a free, I don’t think it was a free, to be honest. There were three or four others that definitely were frees and weren’t awarded and that was frustrating.”

Fitzmaurice also explained the reasoning behind his and his selector’s decision to watch the game from the vantage point of the coaches’ box in the Hogan Stand as opposed to the sideline.

“We did it in the McGrath Cup as well. The sideline regulations are part of it. But I also think you’ve a better view from there. I’ve been up in your (the media’s) perch in the past, on the seventh floor, and I think that’s the best of the lot. You get an overview of the game. The coaches’ box is decent as well. In the semi-final last year, I think we missed some stuff from the vantage point of the sideline. It’s a bit of both — it’s better for the management to be together but also I just think it’s a better vantage point for the game.”

The performance at last indicated to Fitzmaurice Kerry are in a better position than they were last year when they lost their first four league games. “I think a lot of fellas put their hand up tonight and that’s a positive going forward.”

Captain Donnchadh Walsh concurred: “We let two points go but this time last year we had a fairly dismal performance up in Castlebar against Mayo. Today the performance was good, few percentage points better than that one. We can build on today’s performance. We have a home game yet next and you’ve got to win your home games. ”


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