INPHO/Donall Farmer Sean George: dismissed by Coldrick for an off-the-ball incident.
# Ref Watch
Fitzmaurice: 'Below par' refereeing cost Kerry
Dublin “showed the confidence of champions” to grind out their one-point win against old rivals Kerry last night.

KERRY WERE LEFT to rue David Coldrick’s “below par” refereeing as they were edged out by Dublin in their National Football League opener.

The Dubs came from behind to win despite being reduced to 14 men when Coldrick sent off Sean George for an off-the-ball incident early in the second half.

And although the game’s major talking point went in Kerry’s favour, manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice was sharply critical of the Meath ref.

“I felt the referee’s performance was well below par tonight,” he said after Jack McCaffrey sealed a one-point win for Dublin.

“I watched the game in the coaches’ box so I had the luxury of an instant replay up there. He got a lot of calls wrong.

“We found it very hard to get frees in the second half close to goal. Dublin didn’t.”

Fitzmaurice was “baffled” by a decision to play advantage rather than give a free as Kerry chased the game late on.

He said: “Even at the end there was an incident with James O’Donoghue. I could see the referee was looking in at the incident close to goals while the play was going on.

“He didn’t give a free, he left the play develop, we got nothing out of it and he went in to speak to the defender at the close of the play.

“I was just baffled by it. I felt that if there was something going on that warranted a talking to, he should have called it. So that was frustrating.

I don’t like talking about officials because it’s a tough job but for one of the top referees in the country, I thought he was below par tonight.

James O’Donoghue’s goal helped Kerry to a 1-5 to 1-0 lead early on and they led by a point, 1-7 to 2-3, at the break.

Despite George’s red card in the 45th minute, Dublin outscored them by five points to three in the second half to open their Division 1 defence with a 2-8 to 1-10 win.

“We’re disappointed we didn’t get something out of it in the end,” Fitzmaurice added.

“We were in a good position during the second-half. We were playing decent football and we were ahead on the scoreboard.

Dublin had a man sent off but in fairness they showed a lot of character and lifted their game. We seemed to retreat into our shell which wasn’t part of the plan.

“But you’ve to give Dublin a lot of credit. They showed the confidence of champions. They closed the game out well.”

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