Thursday 21 November 2019

McQuillan to ref Kerry for first time since 2011

Referee Joe McQuillan
Referee Joe McQuillan
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Joe McQuillan will take charge of a Kerry match for the first time since their defeat to Dublin in the 2011 All-Ireland football final,

McQuillan has been listed to officiate at Sunday's Division 1 match between Kerry and Kildare in Newbridge, the result of which will go a long way to deciding which side preserves their status in the top flight.

Kerry were known to be unhappy with the performance of the Cavan official that day but maintained a silence in the weeks and months afterwards.

McQuillan has not been slated for any of Kerry's subsequent 11 championship or 19 league matches since the 2011 final.

In contrast, other high-profile referees Maurice Deegan and David Coldrick who, with McQuillan have taken charge of the most recent All-Ireland finals, have handled a minimum of three Kerry games each over the same period.

Ahead of last year's All-Ireland semi-final with Dublin the ex-Kerry manager Jack O'Connor was diplomatic when asked about the McQuillan issue.

"The one massive beef I had that year was that he refereed five of Dublin's last seven games, including four championship games and a league final. It is unheard of that they would have him that much.

"Don't tell me that familiarity with a referee doesn't count because it absolutely does," said O'Connor at the time.

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Meanwhile, the absence of a card of any hue in Sunday's league match between Tyrone and Kerry in Killarney has put fresh focus on the black card and the feeling among some GAA managers, including Mayo's James Horan, that players are fearful of engaging in contact.

When they met in Killarney in July 2012, albeit in an emotive championship qualifier, referee Coldrick produced 16 yellow cards, nine for Tyrone, and a red card for the Red Hands' Brian McGuigan.

To go from 17 cards to none, albeit in a league match, reflects the changing nature of Gaelic football. Tyrone manager Mickey Harte said: "It's a bit confusing now.

"I've seen a few tackles that would fit my interpretation of the black card but weren't flagged, so again it's the inconsistency of how these cards are applied."

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