James O'Donoghue slams claims that Kerry influence referees as 'absolutely horrendous'
Kerry star James O'Donoghue flatly rejects the notion that Kerry look to manage referees.
The reigning Footballer of the Year was responding to suggestions that Kerry deliberately set out to influence officials as part of their approach to the game.
And he also believes often what happens on the field between players and referees can be misinterpreted.
"Wasn't there a big campaign about respect for each other, the referee and the players? And then (when) you shake the referee's hand you are (seen as) influencing his decisions," O'Donoghue reasoned at the national launch of the All-Ireland series of the football championship in his home club Legion.
"I think the articles written, some of them were absolutely horrendous. You might see something on the field when you are in the stand and you make something out of it in your head which isn't the case.
"The referee could want to say to you 'calm down a bit there', but then in the stand everyone thinks the player is trying to influence the referee (or) the referee's decision.
"That is not the case at all and I think it has been blown out of proportion.
"The referees probably deserve more respect than that to think a player having a word is going to influence a decision. That is not true."
O'Donoghue admitted that the decision by referee Padraig Hughes to award him a penalty following a tangle with Mark Collins in the drawn Munster final was "contentious".
"I know it was a contentious decision. Would I have given a penalty? I am not sure," said O'Donoghue of the first half decision which pulled Kerry back into a game at a point when it looked to be going away from them
"There was a coming together and the referee had a decision to make. It was very 50/50.
"One team can be lucky and the other unlucky there. Either way it was always going to be a tough call," he added.