Dublin boss Cunningham hits out at display of ref Kelly

Ger Cunningham: Admitted the better side won.

Although he had no quibbles with the result, Ger Cunningham raised serious questions about some of the decisions made by referee Barry Kelly.

The Cork native took exception to the second yellow card shown to Cian O’Callaghan for a trip on Joseph Cooney in the 41st minute, while he also queried the number of frees given against his players for over-carrying.

Five points down at the time, O’Callaghan’s dismissal made a tough proposition all the more onerous for Dublin. “I thought it was extremely harsh,” remarked Cunningham. “I couldn’t believe it. It was probably the turning point of the game.

“We were a struggling a bit just before that and had conceded a few scores. I’d have to see it back. All I can say is that it looked an extremely dubious yellow card. I’m not even sure what he got the first one for (shoving Jason Flynn in the back after he scored Galway’s first goal). It was going to be hard enough to beat Galway with 15 but to go down a man for most the second half was most disappointing.

“No-one knows how critical it was but obviously we needed everyone on the pitch for the full game. The extra man gave them a chance to express themselves. They looked really good but when you’re that far ahead and you have an extra man, you’re able to do it.”

Cunningham also felt Kelly came down hard on his team when they had the ball in hand. Ben Quinn and Eamon Dillon were just two players penalised for taking more than four steps.

“Again, I thought they were harsh. I’d have to see them back. In the first half we got a goal but Ben was pulled back. It looked very marginal.

“I thought some of the decisions in the second half (were questionable), lads trying to get away were being pulled back, a few high tackles too. I was certainly getting very frustrated on the sideline. Look, we were beaten by a better team on the day. The scoreline says it all. All we can look on is some decisions that went against us.”

Micheál Donoghue was just happy to begin the championship with a win.

“We are delighted to be up and running and happy with the result. Starting off, I thought we were a small bit rusty. We went six up before half-time, they got the goal to bring it back to three before half-time, so we had to kick on again. When they were reduced to 14 it opened it up for us. It was easy enough to pick off a few scores after that.”

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