I should have given Small a black card in All-Ireland replay, admits Maurice Deegan
Top football referee Maurice Deegan admits he should have black-carded Dublin's John Small early in their All-Ireland final replay clash with Mayo.
In a rare interview with a match official, Deegan accepts that had he shown Small a black card, he "probably would have set a better tone to the game".
Ballymun man Small hand- tripped Mayo's Andy Moran early in the game and, on reflection, Deegan concedes that he should have reached for the black card.
"We're wired up and all that type of thing," he explained. "I went into the linesman and he didn't see it properly. And I even asked him again after that.
"We weren't 100pc sure. And if I had anything from that match, that's the main regret - that I didn't black-card Johnny Small.
"I'm just be perfectly honest now. Because if I had black-carded him at the time, it probably would have set a better tone to the game.
"I was very disappointed with myself that I missed that. Apart from that, I was happy enough. That's being honest."
Meanwhile, chairman of the National Referees' Committee Sean Walsh admits the black card has caused problems but insists the sanction is "here to stay".
"We can't be in a position next year to say that there are still inconsistencies," he said.
"Maybe there will be little inconsistencies but we have to limit them. The black card is here to stay. That's the message I'm giving loud and clear."