Thursday 19 September 2019

'It's not Irish dancing' - Kilkenny's Richie Hogan defends red card tackle in All-Ireland Final

Dismissal: The dismissal of Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan just before half time proved the turning point and effectively ended the contest. Photo: Sportsfile
Dismissal: The dismissal of Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan just before half time proved the turning point and effectively ended the contest. Photo: Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Richie Hogan spoke out last night against his red card and insisted it should never have been shown to him for his challenge on Tipperary's Cathal Barrett in Sunday's All-Ireland hurling final.

Speaking to 'Off The Ball', the Kilkenny man absolved referee James Owens of any blame, however, and also said Cathal Barrett's earlier challenge on him - when he caught him in the face with his hurl - was not even a yellow card offence in his view.

"It's not an easy game to referee, so I wouldn't be pointing any blame at James Owens, Cathal Barrett or anyone. It's just a difficult situation," Hogan said.

"Hurling is an incredibly difficult game to referee. There's a set of rules there but it's hard to make up rules to fit the actual game. They spoke about your arm not being down by your side. This is not Irish dancing.

"We have hurleys in our hands, how do we hold a 36-inch hurley without bending your arm?"

Hogan said he was amazed at Owens' decision.

"The first thing I thought was to get back and get after the ball. Then when I turned around and saw him on the ground I thought, 'It's a free'," Hogan explained.

"I was complaining about getting a yellow card, because it was one of those clearly accidental, honest challenges."

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Hogan disputed that he ever lifted his elbow to catch Barrett in the face. "I watched it back a couple of times. My elbow doesn't connect with his face, my shoulder does. My elbow doesn't connect with him at all," he insisted.

He also questioned the camera angles that captured the challenge.

“To go through four or five angles and say this is the one which says there is a connection, what about the other four angles? I lean down with my shoulder and his head is down there because he had taken a sidestep. It’s split-second stuff here. You are really splitting hairs.”

Hogan said he initially assumed that Owens had taken out the wrong card and was happy with how he set himself up to challenge. “My technique in shouldering was completely right; it’s just I didn’t hit his shoulder and that’s the way it worked out.”

He said he disagreed with any view that Barrett should have been red-carded for the earlier incident.

“It wasn’t a red card. It’s a free, sometimes it’s a yellow card. No one would be talking about Cathal Barrett’s tackle if I didn’t get sent off later on so it would be completely dishonest of me to say that it was a sending-off. But his tackle is exactly the same as mine and nobody would be talking about my incident if I wasn’t sent off either.”

Hogan said he may have retired from the inter-county game if Kilkenny had won but his sending-off has now framed his decision to push on for another year at least. He also opened up about the difficulty of getting his body right for games.

He came into the final with a heavily strapped knee after damaging ligaments in the Limerick semi-final and has ongoing back troubles. He no longer trains on his own because he doesn’t have access to a physio.

“I can only train when I have access to a physio, I can’t train on my own, I can’t physically do it without access to a physio.

“It’s no secret that I wouldn’t have played 70 minutes regardless of how the game was going,” he said of his overall fitness.

“I started my warm-up two hours and 15 minutes before the match started. And that’s just to be able to actually get on the pitch,” he said.

“Between getting work done on my back and on my knee, and other injuries I’m carrying, it’s not easy. I haven’t been able to train as much as I would have liked.”

“I’ll sit down and think about it. If we had won on Sunday it would have been a nice way to sign off. I’ll do whatever I can to play another year. Nobody wants to finish their career like that. The decision is made already. I owe it to myself.”

Irish Independent

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