Waterford manager Derek McGrath said he didn’t confront referee Alan Kelly at the end of yesterday’s game with Tipperary though his players were incensed by Kelly’s awarding of a goal from a Jason Forde free in the second half.
“No, I didn’t. I probably had other lads doing that by the looks of it,” said McGrath.
“There seemed to be a reaction to the referee at the end. Look, I think these decisions are made in good faith. I think they are made on the spur of the moment and I think we have to — not embrace those decisions, whilst we might be disappointed in decisions we have to be just aware of the fact that they are making the decisions in good faith. And I think it was a decision made in good faith.
“If it’s not the correct decision what can you do only move on. I think there is another debate over a point or two as well, over whether they were over or not. That’s the way it goes.
“I think Tipp came with real momentum at a time when we weren’t able to force it over the line. I think there’s none of us dead yet.
“We’d have two points on the board if the goal hadn’t been given but I haven’t seen it to say with any definite stance that we were robbed — and I wouldn’t say that anyway.”
McGrath acknowledged his players were emotional about the referee’s call: “That’s the initial emotion, obviously for young men and young players they are going to question a decision, which is a natural kind of emotion of any guy when he’s in a state of genuine sincerity about the decision. He thinks it’s the wrong decision and he’s going to debate it. So we just imparted a message straight away for the lads to move on and I think that’s what we’ll do. That’s the nature of what we are trying to do, behave ourselves correctly on and off the field and move on to the next challenge.”
Waterford led in the second half by 11 points and had an extra man. Did that take the goodness out of the draw?
“The perception was we were dead and buried,” said McGrath. “I don’t think we’ve gone into too many matches over the last five years as 6/1 outsiders. There was a pleasing quality to the performance, to our play, I commend the heroic nature of Austin (Gleeson) and Pauric (Mahony)’s decision to play, albeit it was our decision.
“It was Austin’s first match since the league game with Clare while Pauric was playing with a broken bone in his hand. That’s the unity of the group, which we’ve always espoused even in the midst of tough times. We’re a very unified group and will continue to be, but when you have your knife in someone’s throat you have to twist it and we didn’t do that, unfortunately.”
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