LIMERICK manager John Allen has called for separate administration of hurling and football referees because of the big differences between the games.
He acknowledged that referees are under enormous pressure due to the level of scrutiny they are subjected to nowadays, but believes a division of jurisdiction between hurling and football would help all parties.
"I'd have a lot of sympathy for Barry Kelly (the referee in the Cork v Kilkenny clash last weekend) and James McGrath in the Munster final (Cork v Limerick). They make a decision in real time and people can parse and analyse it on TV and in the papers," said Allen (right).
"A lot of yellow cards are for very innocuous fouls. That puts pressure on players and referees if there's a yellow card early on. I think there needs to be a separate hurling referees' group and forum because hurling and football are very different games. I feel that's probably necessary. We have seen in two big games recently where very innocuous fouls have had fairly serious consequences."
Allen's team benefited from a controversial call in the Munster final when Patrick Horgan was sent off just before half-time, but Limerick later helped the Cork captain in his successful bid to avoid suspension for the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Allen said that Limerick explained to the disciplinary authorities that Paudie O'Brien had gone to ground as a result of being hit by the sliotar rather than by Horgan's hurley.
"We wanted to make that clear in case people thought that he (O'Brien) was playing for a free, which he wasn't," said Allen.
He believes that the novel pairings in the All-Ireland semi-finals is hugely beneficial for hurling.
"It's good now that you have more than three teams who realistically have a chance of winning the All-Ireland. And when the talking is done for next year, you will have all the Division 1A teams going at it, as well as Cork and Limerick in 1B – that will be very good for the league," he said.
With Kilkenny's unexpectedly early departure from the championship still dominating hurling discussion, Allen believes there were signs of a dip for some time.
"Their loss was coming for a while. Whether it's the end of an era or not, I don't know."
Either way, he reckons that Brian Cody and Henry Shefflin will be back next year.
"We all know how much they love and live for hurling. They have been the face of Kilkenny hurling since 1999. I'd say they will be back," he said.