Thursday 22 August 2019

Kingdom boss Keane backs 'best referee' Gough for final

Kerry manager Peter Keane. Photo: Sportsfile
Kerry manager Peter Keane. Photo: Sportsfile

Frank Roche

Peter Keane has made a concerted move to distance his Kerry squad from criticism of All-Ireland final referee David Gough.

The Kerry boss - who was boosted by confirmation last night that Stephen O'Brien will be available for the final against Dublin after having his black card against Meath overturned on appeal - described Gough as "the best referee in the country".

Keane agreed that commentary, emanating from Kerry and querying his suitability for the final, had been unfair on the Meath official.

His predecessor, Eamonn Fitzmaurice, and a couple of retired Kerry players had questioned whether Gough should be appointed on the grounds that he resides and works in the capital. But Keane, not surprisingly, offered a very different viewpoint at Kerry's All-Ireland press night in Currans.

Favours "I have no problem with David Gough. I think he is the best referee in the country at the moment in time," he declared. "I don't get hung up on referees. I was thinking about it today - we played Dublin in the league and I can't tell you who refereed the game.

"The referee goes to do a good job. Some guys get 'het up' that this guy does not do us any favours or that fellow does not do us any favours. Sure the referee was appointed. Was there any hoo-ha about the referee the last day? No, you get on with it."

However, the Cahirsiveen native doesn't believe the controversy has put Gough under added pressure.

"If you are the best ref in the country, you are used to the grief of 80,000 people inside in the ground ... I don't think it is an issue for him," he surmised.

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Asked if the commentary (which came prior to Gough's appointment) was unfair, Keane replied: "I think it is, yeah. The guy is out there to do the best job he can and let him at it."

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