Johnny Cooper after receiving a red card in the All-Ireland final. Ryan Byrne/INPHO
Hands Up

'It's hard to argue with Gough's decision' - Whelan rows back from criticism on Cooper dismissal

The Dublin defender was sent off with two yellow cards in the All-Ireland final against Kerry.

GAA ANALYST CIARAN Whelan has reversed his position on the dismissal of Dublin defender Jonny Cooper in the drawn All-Ireland final against Kerry.

The star defender was sent off just before half-time in the decider after receiving two yellow cards for fouls on Kerry’s David Clifford.

Referee David Gough’s decision was a topic of debate during the half-time analysis on The Sunday Game. Whelan and Joe Brolly both criticised the call while Pat Spillane disagreed with his colleagues.

At the time, Whelan claimed that the second yellow-card incident was “two lads coming together for a ball, simple as that.”

But having looked back at footage of the incident, Whelan has since changed his view. Speaking on’s GAA podcast ‘The Throw-In,’ Whelan rowed back on his criticism.

“When Clifford went out for the ball, it looked like he used his body as any good forward does to push Cooper out,” he began.

“I thought Cooper had made a genuine effort to get a hand in to try and block the ball.

But listen, when you look back on it this morning and look at the replays, as Cooper is going down he does pull Clifford down with him so it’s hard to argue with Gough’s decision.

“I thought from Jonny Cooper’s perspective, for his game to finish based on three relatively mild enough fouls, it was harsh but I suppose Gough was technically right.”

jonny-cooper-fouls-david-clifford-leading-to-his-second-yellow-card-and-being-sent-off Cooper and Clifford tussling for possession in the final. Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

Whelan continued:

“I think there’s also a lesson in it from Dublin’s perspective. We see Gough has been very harsh on people grappling off the ball and making those calls.

“It’s probably something Dublin should have been tuned into in terms of the penalty but other referees would let a lot of that go.

“You look back over the years — Aidan O’Shea and Kieran Donaghy would have had multiple penalties if frees were given for grappling off the ball.

“But that’s the way Gough is. He picks up on things like that and like anything in preparation for the game, you have to be ready for it.

“But from Jonny’s perspective, I just thought he had three relatively mild enough fouls and it ended his game.

But looking back on it this morning he did pull him when he was going down to the ground so I don’t think you can argue with it.” 

Listen to the full podcast here

The Throw-In / SoundCloud

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