Ballysaggart selector Pat Bennett launched a scathing attack on referee John Keenan over the “crazy” dismissal of his son Kieran during Saturday’s All-Ireland junior final replay.
The Ballysaggart midfielder received a second yellow card on 45 minutes for an innocuous frontal challenge on Creggan’s Ruairí McCann, a decision that drew the full wrath of the defeated management.
Pat, clutching his son’s hurley, questioned why GAA top-brass would allow a Wicklow native officiate an All-Ireland hurling final, one “that doesn’t know what hurling is”.
The Ballysaggart selector added his players were subject to constant sledging throughout the tie, but no punishment was served up by Keenan.
“He is a football referee by all accounts and he proved it today,” fumed Bennett.
“I don’t be critical of referees, I never do, but when you’re putting in a Wicklow referee that doesn’t know what hurling is about then that is what you get.
“Our boys were being flagged off the ball but once he doesn’t see it in the middle of the field that’s it. It is not sour grapes. They won the game. I would not fault our guys. It is just disappointing for me when you put a referee of that calibre into an All-Ireland final. To me it is shocking. When he looks back on his video, I’d love to see the assessment he will get.
The 19-year-old Bennett had been Ballysaggart’s standout performer prior to his sending-off and Pat was in no doubt that the pendulum oscillated in Creggan’s favour following the red card flashing.
“That was the problem. We were well on top. When Kieran went we were struggling. In fairness, he was on top in the middle of the field and was winning a lot of dirty ball.
“We knew Creggan were going to be physical. We knew they couldn’t score from long range. We said we would let them shoot from out the field and you see their wide count and it is probably double ours. That is because they are footballers. They can’t score from out the field.”
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