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Babs: Ref standards worst ever

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'Babs' Keating. Photo: Sportsfile

'Babs' Keating. Photo: Sportsfile

SPORTSFILE

'Babs' Keating. Photo: Sportsfile

Tipperary legend 'Babs' Keating has issued a stinging criticism of the current standard of refereeing in hurling, insisting last weekend was the "worst" he has seen.

Keating was in Croke Park last Saturday for Wexford's victory over Dublin, a match in which 50 frees were awarded.

The following afternoon, Kieran Kingston was hugely critical of the way Cork's defeat to Limerick was refereed when again, the play was stopped for a high number of frees to be awarded.

"What I saw in Croke Park last Saturday evening was the worst I've ever seen," Keating stressed, "and I mean that. "Everything that happened, the best way I could describe it was Pat Shortt's Killinaskully programme because what went on you wouldn't see it in that show."

Other than the frequency of frees awarded, Keating also dubbed the penalty Wexford were given in the first half "disgraceful".

"This discussion has come up over and over again - but last weekend was the worst," he outlined.

Strong

"And then when you hear Kieran Kingston speaking ... coming out strong enough to say more or less that the referee destroyed the game. They are fooling themselves if they think this is going to continue."

In 2004, Keating and former Armagh football manager Joe Kernan were appointed to a special committee tasked with making recommendations to the Rulebook Task Force.

"It was an issue then, and it's a bigger issue today," he insisted.

Of the proposals they put forward, Keating still believes there is a need to select high-quality locally-sourced umpires in each inter-county ground, rather than the current system whereby referees bringing their own, citing the Tipperary goal that never crossed the line against Waterford in 2018 as "probably the most disgraceful thing (that) ever happened in the GAA"