Referees must take control and blunt ugly edge early on
THERE has always been a great sense of camaraderie among the hurling community, which is fine, but we've got to be honest with ourselves and admit that the nonsense in Croke Park last Sunday did the game a serious disservice.
One referee sent off a minor for next to nothing while a more experienced colleague allowed seniors to virtually run their own show. It was clear from the start of the Kilkenny-Tipperary game that it had an extra edge which needed to be blunted straight away. If that involved bringing the captains together after the early bust-up and/or booking a few players early, so be it.
Instead, the game was allowed to fester. There's plenty of room for manliness in hurling but a lot of what went on was nasty, bordering on the reckless.
It was up to the referee, backed by his officials, to take control rather than hoping things would settle down. I'm all for letting a game flow but only within the rules. When players step outside, they've got to be forced back or forced off. Neither happened last Sunday.
I wonder what Richie Hogan (pictured above) thought as he looked on. He was sent off on a straight red card against Limerick, but was his pull worse than anything we saw last Sunday? No, it wasn't. Surely at this level, it can't be that hard to have more consistency?
And even if that's missing, there should be no room for some of the stuff that went on last Sunday.