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'It infuriated a few people but nobody got killed or anything' - Dublin maor foirne on Kilkenny incident

Greg Kennedy has admitted he shouldn’t have got involved in the action in Nowlan Park last May.

Greg Kennedy in
Greg Kennedy in
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

DUBLIN SELECTOR GREG Kennedy has admitted that he shouldn’t have intercepted a Kilkenny free after coming onto the pitch during last summer’s Leinster championship game in Nowlan Park.

The controversy occurred in the provincial round-robin game when Kennedy entered the pitch before catching a free from TJ Reid that was aimed at Colin Fennelly.

He subsequently departed the pitch and the incident sparked debate over the role of the maor foirne. A motion to prohibit the maor foirne entering the field of play was narrowly defeated at the weekend’s annual GAA Congress after 59% of delegates supported it, a figure of 60% was required for it to be carried.

“Look it, I shouldn’t have done it, it shouldn’t have happened but it did,” remarked Kennedy, speaking in Waterford Castle yesterday at the KN Group All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge.

“It was one of those things when you didn’t want to be there. You just have to draw a line in the sand and there’s not a lot I can do about it now.

“It infuriated a few people but nobody got killed or anything. It’s a pity it happened but we just have to move on and behave ourselves. I think that’s the best thing we can do.”

Returning to Nowlan Park for the 2020 league opener in January was not an issue for Kennedy.

“Ah, there wasn’t. I’d meet Brian (Cody) at functions and summits and things like that and I’d be a great admirer of Brian’s, I’d listen to him a lot and we would never fall out over a game of hurling.

“He’s been a great ambassador of hurling and I wouldn’t like to think there would be any ill feeling or anything like that. We’ll move on and draw a line in the sand and it’ll be fine.”

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Kennedy outlined why he believes the maor foirne input is vital to teams on match days.

“I’m not in the best position to be defending maor foirnes, I suppose, but with the pace of the game and the needs of players for information with the game changing so fast and the opposition switching things with each puck-out they do need a bit of connection with the sideline.

“I agree it has to be structured and we have to behave as well, the maor foirnes. We have to respect the referees and the players. Going forward, once it’s structured properly when you can and when you can’t enter the field, if there’s a break after a free and you’ve time to go on that’s fine, but it’s impossible for a maor foirne to get in and out between a wide ball or a score and the ball being pucked out. That’s because the puck-outs are coming so quick.

“It’s unfortunate when things are getting a little heated and maor foirnes are involved but none of the maor foirnes go out looking for that. Things happen. There are instincts. We’re all not angels but at the same time we’re trying our best for the lads we’re involved with and that competition and that fight in us from our playing days is still there. Look, I’m glad that it isn’t gone but the fact it’s brought up might get it restructured to suit everybody.”

Sunday’s loss to Clare brought Dublin’s league campaign to a close as they have failed to qualify for the knockout stages and face a long wait now until their Leinster schedule commences in May.

“Seventy days between finishing the League and starting the Leinster campaign on 10 May. We’ve obviously schedules done out, a couple of pre-season blocks done and another block to do now before they go back to the clubs.

“Then when they come back from the clubs they’ve three weeks to prepare for the start of the championship. It is what it is and we have to respect the club championships. It’s vital that they play well with the clubs and get on well with the clubs. Once they’re hurling, we’re happy.”

They have suffered a setback with the loss of key defender Chris Crummey with a shoulder injury.

“Injuries are injuries and with the amount of hits that are going in and the pace of the game it’s unfortunate but every panel has to deal with it. Look at Richie English in Limerick and Adrian Mullen in Kilkenny. It’s up to them to see how fast they can get from those injuries.

“Chris had surgery last week and we have to see how he recovers. Every guy is different. His recovery time might be a little bit better than others, I don’t know, we just have to monitor it. It’s disappointing for Chris because he’s a key part of the Dublin set-up and he’ll be missed in the next few weeks but we will see how he gets on.”

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The 21st annual KN Group All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge returns to Waterford Castle Hotel and Golf Resort on September 11 and 12. Four-person teams are invited to represent their GAA clubs for All-Ireland glory on the golf course.

This year’s Challenge is in aid of Waterford and South Kilkenny Down Syndrome Ireland. For more details, visit Facebook (All-Ireland GAA Golf Challenge) or Twitter (@golfgaa).

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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