Thursday 22 February 2018

McEnaney rejects Horan claim that Brolly remarks swayed final referee

Pat McEnaney. Photo: Sportsfile
Pat McEnaney. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

National referees committee chairman Pat McEnaney has dismissed the notion that All-Ireland football final referee Maurice Deegan was influenced by comments made by Joe Brolly about Mayo cynicism in the build-up to the big match.

Mayo manager James Horan identified Brolly as the main focus of his ire for "targeting" his team before last September's final, when the former Derry player highlighted what he felt was Mayo's cynicism as they shut out Dublin in their All-Ireland semi-final.

Mayo were hailed after that game for the greater steel they brought to their game under Horan.

Horan suggested that if RTE were "proclaiming" about one team in a two-horse race "that's going to influence officials and various things around the game".

McEnaney, however, has disputed that any official would be influenced by what was being said in the week of a game. "Mayo didn't suffer because of Joe Brolly's comments," he said. "The yellow cards they picked up in the early stages of that game were clear-cut yellow cards. They could have no complaints."

McEnaney pointed out that comments about referees and how they might approach games has been going on as long as he was a referee at inter-county level.

"This is going on a long time. We're well used to it, we're well aware of it," he said. "I haven't seen any All-Ireland ruined by some comment an analyst or a rival manager has made about the way the game should be officiated.

"Do people really think a referee will be swayed by this? It simply doesn't work that way."

Brolly's comments were disputed prior to the game by former Mayo footballer David Brady, who produced statistics of his own to highlight areas of the field where he contended Donegal were routinely fouling to help with their defensive orientation.

In 2011, former Kildare selector Niall Carew, now Waterford boss, drew the wrath of Donegal manager Jim McGuinness for suggesting extra vigilance from referee David Coldrick.

"It's all going to come down to the interpretation of the referee," said Carew at the time. "If he lets Donegal continue with the cynical fouling of the opposition half-back line in particular, then yes, they will be hard to break down."

Irish Independent

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