Sunday 23 April 2017

'I didn't get it wrong on purpose, I didn't see it' - Gough on Kerry call

David Gough. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
David Gough. Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Michael Verney

In an unusual move for a referee, David Gough has held his hands up - admitting that he "got it wrong" when not awarding Kerry a free in the dying minutes of last year's narrow All-Ireland SFC semi-final loss to Dublin.

Gough was the subject of abuse, physical and verbal, from hysteric Kingdom supporters when walking down the Croke Park tunnel following the dramatic finale after Kevin McManamon's frontal charge on Kerry's Peter Crowley went unpunished.

Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side were trailing by a point when Crowley was fouled within scoring distance of the Dublin goal and a converted free would have levelled affairs, but instead the play continued and Diarmuid Connolly kicked the insurance score to seal a 0-22 to 2-14 win.

Speaking to LMFM in a wide-ranging interview, Gough revealed he did not see the controversial challenge and that he would have awarded a Kerry free if he had, before detailing how the post-match experience left him reeling.

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"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," Gough said.

"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. 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?"

Read more: Indiscipline undermining Kingdom cause

The Meath man, one of the most respected whistlers in the game, also suggested that referees should be granted permission to speak to the media after big games in order to give the chance to explain certain decisions.

Gough also outlined how the introduction of the much-maligned black card, which covers five different rules, has heaped added pressure on their backs.

"The education of the general public and the players has not been to the same level as it has been to the referees," he said.

"They're very prescriptive and it's not really left up to the judgment of the referee. Now we're getting into the referee trying to play God.

"How can a referee decide whether a player deliberately tried to trip his opponent or whether he accidentally tried to trip him. It makes our job really difficult."

Irish Independent

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