herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

McGeeney and Evans join the chorus on suffering ref justice

KIERAN McGeeney and John Evans have ploughed in on the debate over refereeing standards and followed Carlow boss, Luke Dempsey, in publicly airing their grievances at how their teams have been treated by officials.

Tipp boss, Evans, echoed the sentiments of Dempsey, who last week accused referees of favouring "the big counties" in key decision in matches.

"No matter what statistics you look at, it's the underdogs that gets nailed with these things," slammed Evans. "Every time we play Cork, Kerry, Meath, Down or Donegal, these established powers, it's always the technical frees that officialdom are laying on us.

"We'll go up to Armagh and we'll try to compete with them but you can rest assured, we won't get anything. It's a case of placate the crowd, the big dog, the team on top," he added. "When Kerry come up here on May 16 (Munster SFC), officialdom will placate the big dog. That annoys me more than anything. I have to speak out or else we'll be trodden on."

McGeeney, meanwhile, cut a visibly frustrated figure on the Newbridge sideline last Sunday as Kildare came back from the concession of two early goals to beat Westmeath. However, the performance of ref Aidan Mangan, and specifically, the inconsistencies with which referees apply rules concerning tackling left McGeeney exasperated.

"I give up. I just think the whole thing is ridiculous. Sorry, I just do. I can't coach. I can't say 'if you do this every week, you won't be blown up.' You can't. It's just impossible. You can't say 'if you tackle like this, you won't get blown up'," said McGeeney, who described Gaelic football as "a game of half rules". "A player who is exceedingly tight and gets stuck in, the referees just hammer them," he continued. "It's the same with players who get reputations, even if it's sometimes deservedly so. It's difficult because you want to coach the game, you want to show how to tackle.

"One fella bends down for a ball, he gets pushed in the back and it's a free kick. But then 20 seconds later, it's not," McGeeney added. "The referees are trying to make it more fluid but it's difficult to understand when you don't know what the hell is going on.

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