Tipp hurling captain Padraic Maher felt that referee Barry Kelly was very hard on Tipp.
Tipperary captain Padraic Maher and County Board Chairman Michael Burke hit out at disparity in Sunday's All-Ireland senior hurling semi-final free count.
Tipperary were left smarting at a multiplicity of refereeing decisions from Westmeath official Barry Kelly who awarded eighteen frees to Galway and just eight to The Premier County over the course of a contest which was full of physicality, but in which no foul stroke was pulled.
While The Sunday Game focused in on the tearing of a helmet by Adrian Tuohey off of Patrick Maher, which required replacement headgear, the analysts failed to address the issue of the disparity in the freecount. Any intentional interference with the helmet carries a straight red card punishment and in light of the suspension handed down to Waterford's Tadgh de Burca for a similar offence in their quarter final clash with Wexford, The Sunday Game highlighted Touhey's infraction which happened in open play and which went totally unpunished.
Westmeath referee Barry Kelly.
And, what really incensed Tipp folks then was the accusation leveled at Maher that he had dived in the second half as he advanced forward with Galway defenders hanging out of him – of all players to be accused of diving.
Many Tipperary supporters took to social media since the game to vent their anger at the officiating and Chairman of the County Board Michael Burke and captain Padraic Maher also expressed their dissatisfaction with the performance of the Westmeath man and his officials. While not wishing to take from Galways victory in any way, the refereeing was still a big issue, they said.
Tipperary County Board Chairman Michael Burke pictured left.
“Defeat is always hard to take but we can be very proud of everybody today. The work which has gone on over a long time to ensure that we were in a position to compete at the top level is phenomenal - we could ask no more. We were neck and neck with Galway. Definitely, we feel that we didn't get the rub of the green with the referee – 18 frees to 8 is the count - it is very hard to win a game like that. It was bizarre in a game that wasn't dirty. It was a tough physical game but there was no dirt in it. We have to live with it but it was bizarre,” Michael Burke said afterwards.
Captain Padraic Maher produced another magnificent performance in the blue and gold jersey, but he felt equally as perplexed at many of the decisions which went against Tipp. In fact, he felt that even the decisions which were, in his view, 60/40 in favour of Tipp, were still going to Galway.
“I felt Barry Kelly was very harsh on us. I felt he gave a number of 50/50 ones to Galway and even a few of the 60/40 ones which should have been ours went to Galway too. That's only a small thing but in tight games they make a big difference,” he said.
While both Burke and Maher were being circumspect and reserved in their utterings on the matter, social media wasn't as kind with the Westmeath official coming in for scathing criticism, even if he had escaped the attention of the experts on The Sunday Game.