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Gavin laughs off swipe 'accident'

Bloodied All-Ireland hurling final referee Brian Gavin has accepted the accidental nature of the blow to the nose he took from Tommy Walsh's hurl in the first half last Sunday.

Standing too close to a developing melee, Gavin was caught on the bridge of the nose by a wild swipe from the Kilkenny No 5.

The medical attention required necessitated a four-minute delay and Walsh was fortunate not to escape censure.

"If I had seen who had done it, he was in trouble," laughed Gavin while speaking on RTE radio last night.

Gavin admitted the advice given to referees is to take your time and not get too close to these melees when they develop, but in this case he admits it came on top of him.

He accepted that Walsh might have been trying to break away with his hurl when the blow was struck.

"I felt some clatter on the nose. I was shook for a few seconds alright.

"It was an accident. It was one of those things that happened. Lads are holding lads' arms and lads' hurls. I know everyone is saying it's a high hurl, but he was trying to break away and these things happen, especially with the slapping back of the hurl.

"It was a pure accident and, really, you couldn't do anything about it."

Gavin admitted that if it was a player and not the referee he connected with, action would have to have been taken.

"If I was standing back a couple of yards and he hit someone in the head, I would have had to take action," he said. "Eoin Kelly was fairly quick to tell me who hit me. 'It was Tommy, Brian, it was Tommy, it was Tommy!'"

Gavin was attended to by the Kilkenny and Tipperary team doctors and at one stage he was asked to come to the sideline for the treatment, which he declined to do.

Meanwhile, Jimmy Barry-Murphy will be approved as Cork hurling manager at a board meeting tonight with Ger Cunningham, Sean McGrath, Kieran Kingston and Johnny Crowley expected to be confirmed as part of his back-room team.

Irish Independent