'I know I got it wrong, I didn’t get it wrong on purpose'

Referee David Gough admits that he should have given a late free to Kerry in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

REFEREE DAVID GOUGH has admitted that he blundered by not awarding Kerry a free in the closing minutes of last year’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin.

Gough was pelted with objects as he left the field following a dramatic clash at Croke Park.

In stoppage time, Dublin’s Kevin McManamon hit Kerry’s Peter Crowley with a frontal charge but Gough allowed play to continue.

Kerry were trailing by a point at the time and a converted free would have levelled matters.

Instead, Dublin broke forward and from their next attack, Diarmuid Connolly kicked the insurance score to seal a 0-22 to 2-14 win.

Gough, speaking to LMFM, said that he did not see the challenge from McManamon on Crowley, but would have awarded a free to Kerry if he had.

And he revealed how the post-match experience was one of the most difficult he’s endured as a referee.

“It was because I wasn’t expecting it.

“What people didn’t realise at the time was I didn’t know I had missed what I had missed. I don’t know how many times I have watched it back since.

“I know I got it wrong. I didn’t get it wrong on purpose, I just didn’t see it.

“Michael Fitzsimons, the Dublin corner-back, had come on that day and he had just crossed my line of vision.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“I knew an impact had happened and the ball spilled. I didn’t know whether it was a proper charge or not, but I couldn’t call it because I didn’t see it.

“Unfortunately, as Peter Crowley was getting up off the ground, the man he was marking, Diarmuid Connolly, was putting that insurance point over the bar and I could understand why Kerry people would be quite frustrated but what I would like them to realise is I just didn’t see it.

“It was a very testing situation and walking off the field after 76 minutes of what I thought was a great game of football, why this was happening?”

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

In a wide-ranging interview, Gough also suggested that referees should be allowed to speak to the media after big games, to explain why they have made certain decisions.

And he believes that the introduction of the controversial black card rule is heaping more pressure on referees.

“Definitely, more difficult. More difficult in that there are five different rules covered for a black card offence and the education of the general public and the players has not been to the same level as it has been to the referees.

“They’re very prescriptive and it’s not really left up to the judgement of the referee. Now we’re getting into the referee trying to play God.

“How can a referee decide whether a player deliberately tried to trip his opponent or whether he accidentally tried to trip him.

“That’s only one of them (rules) – there are three that have the word ‘deliberate’ in them – and it makes our job really difficult.

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“Of course, the players now know this because as soon as the foul is committed he’ll turn around and say: ‘that was accidental, I didn’t mean it’.

David Gough shows Peter Crowley a black card David Gough shows Peter Crowley a black card in last year's Kerry-Cork League clash. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

“And they’re putting that seed of doubt straight away into your mind. We know they’re being trained to do it. We have to remove ourselves from the situation and look at it on its own.”

Gough also spoke about the GAA’s refusal to allow him to wear a rainbow wristband in support of a ‘yes’ vote in the 2015 marriage referendum.

Gough, the GAA’s first openly gay match official, reflected: “The media fallout from it was huge and uncontrollable from my point of view.”

You can listen to the full David Gough interview below:

Source: LMFM Radio/SoundCloud

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