Joe Brolly on Maurice Deegan: "He did something to Tyrone today which normally happens between consenting adults"
The Sunday Game pundits were harsh in their criticism of referee Maurice Deegan and his performance during the All-Ireland semi-final between Kerry and Tyrone, which the Kingdom won 0-18 to 1-11 in horrible conditions.
Tyrone were awarded a second-half penalty which Peter Harte converted but the panel, and Joe Brolly in particular, were stinging in their condemnation of Deegan for not awarding a further spot-kick.
Brolly claimed that the psyche of referees has been greatly influenced in the aftermath of Tyrone's controversy-fuelled quarter-final win over Monaghan, and didn't hold back in his assessment of Deegan's display.
"He did something to Tyrone today which normally happens between consenting adults," Brolly said of the Stradbally referee. "It was an obvious penalty and there's no point in trying to gloss over that.
"Tyrone suffered from their previous behaviour. The referees came together in a workshop and said 'we've got to clamp down on Sean Cavanagh, we've got to clamp down on this.' Then, in his mind (Deegan) is thinking 'is that a dive?' If that was Colm Cooper at the other end that's a definite penalty.
“I mean they are right to be clamping down on it but sometimes you overdo it. I just think that in a split second decision like that, in the referee’s mind he is thinking ‘has he dived? I am not sure, I am not sure’."
Brolly's comments came in response to host Michael Lyster's question of whether the men in black were "fingering" Tyrone and the Derry All-Ireland winner called for the introduction of a TMO, as in rugby, to tell whether it's a penalty or not.
Red Hand substitute Padraig McNulty was yellow carded for diving in the incident in question and Ciaran Whelan said that on the law of averages a referee is unlikely to give two penalties to the same team in a game.
“He had also given one penalty already and the laws of averages, after you have given a penalty, you are thinking ‘well do I give another one?’ It can play with your thought process,” The former Dublin midfielder said.
While Colm O'Rourke did agree with his fellow panellists, he felt Eamonn Fitzmaurice's side were the better team, having outscored their Ulster rivals by 18 scores to 12.
"It was much closer than the score suggested but a serious decision went in Kerry's favour. It was a crucial decision but Kerry were the better team," The Meath legend said.