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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 31 March, 2020

Kerry chairman: 'The team and management have no issue with David Gough as the All-Ireland referee'

Tim Murphy insists no one in the Kerry camp has an issue with the appointment of the Meath referee.

Kerry players Peter Crowley and Colm Cooper with referee David Gough after the 2017 All-Ireland final.
Kerry players Peter Crowley and Colm Cooper with referee David Gough after the 2017 All-Ireland final.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

KERRY CHAIRMAN TIM Murphy insists that no one involved with their senior football squad or county board executive have an issue with the selection of David Gough to referee the All-Ireland football final.

The Meath man was confirmed yesterday as the appointment for the showdown on 1 September between Dublin and Kerry.

There had been question marks over the potential choice of Gough beforehand with former Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and defender Aidan O’Mahony speaking out due to the fact that the referee lives and works in Dublin.

But Murphy has spoken out to express the official Kerry view that they ‘have complete confidence’ in the ability of Gough to act impartially as referee.

“In terms of individuals writing and commenting on the process and the referee, at the end of the day they’re expressing a personal opinion and a personal view,” stated Murphy this morning in an interview on Radio Kerry.

“Eamonn was manager up until last year and he’s offering his own opinion which he is entitled to do. That certainly wouldn’t be the view of the Kerry county board. It wouldn’t be the view of myself as chairman. It certainly wouldn’t be the view of the manager Peter Keane or the team.

“We have complete confidence in the people that made the decision and more importantly now we have complete confidence in the referee David Gough in terms of his ability to act impartially in the course of refereeing the All-Ireland football final.

“He would be seen as probably one of the most experienced referees in the country. People have decided he is the best person for the job, he has the most experience and we have to respect that.

“I think it’s important to say that the team and management have no issue with David Gough as the All-Ireland referee. None whatsoever. We in Kerry don’t have an issue with it. We didn’t have an issue with it last week as to who would be appointed.”

Kerry team during the national anthem The Kerry football team before last Sunday's game against Tyrone. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Murphy is hoping to draw a line under the debate and has urged Kerry supporters to focus on the game.

“I’m just on this morning in an effort to bring an alternative perspective, to give balance and to assure people that there is no smoking guns of any description here in terms of how this works because that seems to be the narrative that’s out there. I want to quash that. I would urge people to park this. I think we should move on and focus on what’s important.

“Unfortunately the narrative has been created around focusing on a referee’s appointment. Kerry are a very proud football county and always do their talking on the field. It’s a huge occasion for both teams, for Kerry for the players and the management and indeed for the supporters but it’s also a huge occasion for the referee.

“It’s this guy’s first All-Ireland final. I think in Kerry we need to focus on what we can control, not what we can’t control and put our energies into getting behind the team now and focusing on the football for the next two and a half weeks.”

Peter Keane before the game Kerry boss Peter Keane and his players before their clash with Tyrone. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

A Facebook page was set up in recent days calling for a protest over Gough’s appointment outside the Kerry open training day on Saturday in Killarney. Murphy moved to distance the Kerry camp from it and described it ‘as unhelpful in the extreme’ if it did take place.

“We live in a democracy so I’m not in a position to stop people coming if they feel they need to do that but all I would say is that if that did happen, it would be unhelpful in the extreme, it certainly would not reflect the view of the Kerry senior footballers or manager or extended management team, myself as chairman and the executive of the county board. I hope what I’ve said gives a different perspective on it and the focus needs to be on football.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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