TJ Reid has defended Brian Cody’s remarks about Barry Kelly, insisting referees’ performances should be scrutinised as closely as those of players.
The Kilkenny forward, expected to be among the All Star hurling nominations named tomorrow morning, was the victim of a nasty blow in the 2012 All-Ireland final replay against Galway which fractured his kneecap but went unpunished.
Last month, Kelly awarded Tipperary a free in the drawn final which could and would have been a match-winning one had John O’Dwyer converted it.
Reid believes there was “a bit of justice” served to Kilkenny by it going wide.
He didn’t read Cody’s critical comments about Kelly but backed his manager’s right to remark about the decision.
“I don’t read the papers, to be honest, but I heard people talking about it,” he said. “Look, I think every manager and player is entitled to their opinions. We’re playing the game, the media are able to judge on our performances so I think the media should look at the performances of the referees as well.”
Reid can only imagine what the feeling in the Kilkenny camp would have been had O’Dwyer’s long-range shot been deemed good by Hawk-Eye.
“It would have been very harsh, I have to say,” he said. “When you’re training for the last year for an All-Ireland final, you don’t want a decision to go like that. If it did go over the bar, it would have been the worst winter of my life, just knowing that point going over in the last second. We hadn’t a second chance because the two minutes of injury-time were up and we were gone. Thank God that a bit of justice went right and it went wide.”
Reid doesn’t look back with much anger on what happened in 2012 although it did mean last season was pretty much a write-off.
“You can’t do anything about it, when you play hurling you are going to get injured. The players themselves have to take control of their actions, it was a wild pull. When you do pull a wild stroke, you are going to injure a player.
“I think this year referees are clamping down on that, in fairness to them. If you do pull a wild swing of a hurl now it’s a red card, and a few years ago that wasn’t in place so it’s very important to have that rule.”
Unlike last year when he wasn’t able to jog until the end of spring, Reid was firing on all cylinders from the outset.
“Looking back on last year, we had a bad performance and a bad year. I had a bad year myself with a knee injury so I wanted to really push on this year for myself and the team.
“Whenever you do have a bad year you always look back and say ‘what can I do to improve?’ I think that’s what we all did this year, we all looked back on last year and said we weren’t right and I wasn’t right.
“We trained harder this year than any other year. We put in a great effort and when you train hard, you play hard, and I think that’s what we done.
“We wouldn’t have beat Tipp if that work-rate wasn’t there.”
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