Tomás Ó Sé: "We're all confused, we don't know what card is going to come out."
The Sunday Game panel were united in their agreement that Gaelic Football is becoming impossible to referee after a string of controversial incidents in yesterday's All-Ireland football semi-final between Dublin and Mayo.
Tomás Ó Sé, Ciarán Whelan and Kevin McStay discussed the wide-ranging controversy surrounding today's exhilarating draw, from black cards to red cards to persistent cynicism, which dogged the game from start to finish.
A string of off the ball incidents, most notably the sending off of Diarmuid Connolly, a suspected headbutt by Philly McMahon and an elbow by Cillian O'Connor on Rory O'Carroll, led to Whelan calling for the introduction of a TMO as in rugby. He believes the job of a referee could be facilitated more by linesmen and umpires as the men in black's job is more difficult now than ever.
"There was pulling and dragging off the ball right from the start. There was a lot of cynicism and it's becoming very difficult to referee," the former Dublin midfielder said.
"Linesmen have a bigger duty. Diarmuid Connolly was targeted off the ball. Aidan O'Shea was targeted off the ball. The two top players were targeted the whole day. The tone was set early with guys pulling each other to the ground. Maybe a card in the first few minutes would have sorted it out."
McStay spoke of a "nasty undercurrent" and felt it was impossible to referee at times and Ó Sé questioned the appointment of Joe McQuillan for the marquee tie: "The top three or four referees should be given the top games," the Kerry legend said. "We're all confused, we don't know what card is going to come out."
McStay retorted saying that there is a rule in the GAA where the All-Ireland final referee cannot officiate either of the semi-finals and that the GAA are possibly hamstringing themselves by "holding the best for the final."