Former Kerry forward Seán O’Sullivan says David Gough’s appointment for Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final replay won’t go down well in the county but maintains he’s a leading referee.

The Meath man, who took charge of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final between Kerry and Dublin, was yesterday announced as the man in the middle for the Kingdom’s second date with Mayo.

Items were thrown by angry Kerry fans from the Cusack Stand at Gough following the game 12 months ago after he failed to call a free against Kevin McManamon for a foul on Peter Crowley, the turnover initiating the move for a victory-sealing point by Diarmuid Connolly.

Gough has not since taken charge of a Kerry or Dublin game and O’Sullivan says he would hardly be Kerry’s first choice to officiate the replay.

“I wouldn’t say there would be a brilliant reaction to his appointment. He wouldn’t be the most popular character in Kerry going back to the whole debacle with Peter Crowley. There was bad blood about that.

“I would say over the next few days it’ll be criticised but at the end of the day he’s a decent referee. The reaction won’t be great but he’s one of the leading referees in the country.”

Speaking after last year’s game, Éamonn Fitzmaurice said: “I’m going to bite my lip on it, I’ll leave it. I’d prefer not to say anything, look ye saw it yourselves, you are all smart guys and can make up your own mind. I don’t want that to be the story, to be honest.”

Gough admitted to LMFM last March that he didn’t see the incident. “What people didn’t realise at the time was I didn’t know I had missed what I had missed. I don’t know how many times I have watched it back since.

“I know I got it wrong. I didn’t get it wrong on purpose, I just didn’t see it. Michael Fitzsimons, the Dublin corner-back, had come on that day and he had just crossed my line of vision. I knew an impact had happened and the ball spilled. I didn’t know whether it was a proper charge or not, but I couldn’t call it because I didn’t see it.

“Unfortunately, as Peter Crowley was getting up off the ground, the man he was marking, Diarmuid Connolly, was putting that insurance point over the bar and I could understand why Kerry people would be quite frustrated but what I would like them to realise is I just didn’t see it. It was a very testing situation and walking off the field after 76 minutes of what I thought was a great game of football why this was happening.”

Speaking on Radio Kerry’s Terrace Talk last night, former Kerry defender and Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan said the county’s minor captain David Clifford, who scored 1-10 against Cavan in Sunday’s All-Ireland MFC semi-final, should be paid to remain in Ireland as speculation mounts the Fossa teenager is courting significant attention from Australian Rules clubs.

Meanwhile, the GAA yesterday confirmed stand tickets for Saturday’s All-Ireland semi-final replay have been cut by €10, €45 to €35. Admission to Hill 16 has dropped from €30 to €25. Tickets are available at usual outlets such as Centra and SuperValu and online at tickets.ie and gaa.ie/tickets.


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