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John Kiely launches attack on GAA over rules and accuses Galway of simulation

The Limerick boss was holding little back in the aftermath of his side’s defeat.

A pensive John Kiely during his side's loss to Galway.
A pensive John Kiely during his side's loss to Galway.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

JOHN KIELY HAS lashed out at the GAA for tampering with the rules and has accused Galway players of diving and looking for soft frees.

The double All-Ireland winning manager was fuming after his side lost their first game since going down to Kilkenny in the 2019 All-Ireland semi-final.

And he didn’t hold back afterwards in a game where Wexford’s James Owens awarded 22 frees to Galway and 14 to his Limerick side.

“The free count is, obviously we have to take account for the fact that I completely agree some of those frees are frees on our behalf — hurleys late, late contact, maybe a hand left in, a hand high, absolutely,” said Kiely after their 0-26 to 1-17 loss at Pearse Stadium.

“But when a player has the ball and they run at you and throw themselves on the ground, and they’re roaring and shouting, that’s embarrassing. And that’s not part of the game.

“Simulation, yeah, there were some clear examples of simulation there today, a couple were very embarrassing. None of us want to see that brought in as part of our game, you know.

“But having said that the referees’ interpretations of the rules and our understanding of that is at an all-time low in my opinion. We don’t really clearly know what it is we are expected to do.

“It’s so disappointing and listen, we had players today who were being physically held from running, an opposition player even hurt himself from trying to prevent a player from running.”

Kiely conceded that Galway deserved their victory but feels that hurling is going to suffer if they take the tackle out of the game.

“Unfortunately we’re in a position where we’re in now for two weekends in a row when we should have been talking about how great it is that the teams are back on the pitches and the quality of performances and so forth, we’re stuck unfortunately in this area where we’re discussing rules.

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“We’ve never had to have those discussions in the past. I can’t remember, and I’m involved a long time now, having to have conversations about rules.

“Why have we come to the point where we had such a fantastic game that everybody was enjoying and now we’re in a situation where we’re having deep conversations about rules?”

The league champions will now head to Kilkenny next Sunday needing a win to keep their hopes alive of retaining their crown.

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John Fallon

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