Sport GAA

Tuesday 20 August 2019

Kernan slams refereeing after Irish let series slip

 

Ireland manager Joe Kernan Photo: Sportsfile
Ireland manager Joe Kernan Photo: Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

The Cormac McAnallen Cup will be staying in Australia after Ireland lost their way in the second half of the second international rules Test in Perth yesterday.

It was very much a case of opportunity lost as Ireland blew a 13-point interval lead, eventually going down 53-50. It gave the Australians a series win on an aggregate score of 116-103.

Australia were clearly the better side in the first Test in Adelaide last Sunday but it was all very different yesterday as early goals from Gary Brennan and Chris Barrett gave Ireland a platform from which they should have launched a major success.

They maintained the upper hand until the third quarter but lost momentum from there on as the home side began a recovery mission which ultimately took them to victory in front of a crowd of 30,116.

"We had the game in the palm of our hands and didn't hold on to it," said manager Joe Kernan. "We might not have deserved to win the series, but we deserved to win that game."

Kernan, though, launched a scathing attack on the standard of refereeing, claiming that Michael Murphy was "tortured" all day and also questioned why Nat Fyfe wasn't sent off for what Kernan described as a "forearm smash" on Aidan O'Shea.

"I thought the refereeing was diabolical. Michael Murphy was tortured all day. If you look at last week we had handy frees given against our full-back line. Murphy was being dragged all through today and never got a free."

Australia had Joel Selwood sent off for a high and late challenge on Barrett just before half-time.

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However, he won't serve a suspension as the committee in charge decided it wasn't warranted.

Conor McManus was again Ireland's top scorer, kicking 16 points to add to the 24 he notched in the first Test. It earned him the award as Ireland's player of the series.

The contest marked the final game at the Subiaco Oval, which is to close shortly. It will be replaced by a new 60,000-capacity facility.

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