Sunday 18 February 2018

Referees agree Walsh handpass within rules - O'Connor

Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Kerry manager Jack O'Connor has claimed a recent meeting between football managers and referees established broad consensus that a handpass which created Killian Young's disallowed goal in the All-Ireland quarter-final defeat to Down was legal.

O'Connor was one of up to eight football managers who attended the meeting in Croke Park in recent weeks which all parties say was of enormous benefit. Cork's Conor Counihan, Down's James McCartan, Kildare's Kieran McGeeney and Tyrone's Mickey Harte were among those who were also in attendance.

Referees' chief Mick Curley was present with current inter-county referees David Coldrick and Marty Duffy, who have taken charge of the last two All-Ireland finals.

O'Connor brought video footage of Donnacha Walsh's handpass that was declared illegal at the time by referee Joe McQuillan.

"I got Eamon Fitzmaurice (former selector) to put together a few of the handpasses that were pulled by referees in big games against us," he said. "I brought them in and we spent a long time discussing the interpretation of the handpass.

"Everybody in the room agreed on the night that the handpass was legal, though it is not much consolation to us now. But I said at the time that it was a very pivotal moment in that Down game and it was funny sitting down inside a room months later with the Down manager and some top referees and they all agreeing that it was a perfectly legal handpass and goal."

However, when contacted yesterday Curley said his recall of the meeting was agreement that the Walsh handpass had been "difficult to call" for McQuillan.

O'Connor believes the handpass rule is not wanted in the GAA by referees, players or managers.

"Basically what emerged from that meeting was that there isn't a person in the country outside of the man who introduced that motion to Congress that believes that that handpass rule can be implemented," he said. "I don't think that the referees are for it, because it complicates their lives, the managers are certainly not for it and neither are the players."

Further meetings between referees and managers are due to take place during the National League. A hurling meeting on the same night was not as well attended.

Irish Independent

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