DAITHí REGAN was no shrinking violet on the field - and maybe just as well, for the hurling pundit has now risked the ire of Brian Cody by claiming recent comments from the Kilkenny manager were an attempt to influence referees.
Cody used the platform of the Allianz League final press conference, earlier this month, to argue that the GAA was attempting to take "genuine physicality" out of hurling. He also maintained that referees should be allowed to use their own "common sense" instead of officiating under the microscope of Cody's bette noire, the referee's assessor.
But now Regan, speaking at the launch of Newstalk radio's championship coverage, has likened Cody's comments to tactics that might be applied in another sport by one Alex Ferguson. The former Offaly midfielder claims that Kilkenny's style of play, while not dirty, "borders on illegal" and that the current style of refereeing hurling is "quite liberal" - thus Cody's preference for the status quo.
"I think that Brian Cody by coming out with statements like that is influencing referees to keep doing what they're doing in a subtle kind of way," Regan claimed. "No more so than Alex Ferguson (he) is a very strong character.
"Human nature being what it is, the stronger the team you are, the stronger the character you are and more successful you are as a manager, more will be thought of what you say as opposed to the Carlow manager making the same statement.
"From his point of view, it was the right thing to do. He wants to see it continued to be refereed and what he was saying was you can expect the same physicality from Kilkenny this year." Regan insisted that his comments "don't take away from Kilkenny's brilliance" while arguing that the All-Ireland champions benefit most from the current style of refereeing.
"Simple things like a little tug on the arm to slow a guy down and a second attacker or defender comes in," he outlined. "It's not dirty but it's illegal, it's bordering on illegal, and referees are letting it go because we've all lauded the last three All-Ireland finals, which have been outstanding. The way hurling is being refereed at the moment suits the way Kilkenny play hurling."