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Loughmore boss hits out - 'Our first reaction was we were treated pretty badly down here'

Frankie McGrath saw his team finish with 13 men in today’s Munster semi-final loss to Ballygunner.

Updated Dec 12th 2021, 9:51 PM

LOUGHMORE-CASTLEINEY MANAGER Frankie McGrath hit out at the decision to send-off Tipperary stars Noel and John McGrath for separate incidents during their Munster club hurling semi-final loss today.

noel-mcgrath-is-given-a-red-card-by-johnny-murphy Noel McGrath is sent-off by referee Johnny Murphy. Source: Tom Maher/INPHO

The Tipperary All-Ireland winners were both dismissed, with Noel receiving a straight red card before half-time and John booked for the second time in the final quarter.

The Tipperary champions finished with 13 men as they lost out 2-11 to 0-12 against Waterford’s Ballygunner in this Munster clash. A remarkable 2021 campaign yielded two senior title wins in Tipperary but the season concluded on a sour note with their manager left annoyed by several decisions during the match at the Fraher Field in Dungarvan.

“My first thoughts is will people have a little look at the video and we’ll see what’s there,” remarked McGrath after the game.

“We had two incredible hurlers ended up in the stands. Somebody would want to stand back and have a little look at it. Two guys that have incredible discipline records. We come down here, at this level, look we’ll stand back and we’ll wait and see what’s on the video.

“But given the two characters involved, I’d be pretty sure somebody got something wrong somewhere. Sure what happened prior to Noel’s sending-off? It’s the incident before it. I mean somebody put a hurley into Noel’s helmet like. You were all near enough, we all heard it. And that’s not an event at all so it’s not?

“If Noel is sent off for some event….like I couldn’t see that it was a sending-off either. Maybe the video will tell us something else.”

john-mcgrath-walks-off-the-pitch-dejected Source: Tom Maher/INPHO


Ballygunner’s second goal proved a crucial score when it arrived during the second half but the failure to penalise a frontal charge in the build-up, was questioned by McGrath.

“Well, sure ye saw it, ye’d a better view of than I had. If I’m annoyed and if I sound annoyed, well you know I am annoyed. Incredibly annoyed.

“We’ve had 19 weeks in a row, this is the standard that we got when we came down here. Even the conditions. Look I don’t want to say too much, our guys are in there, they’re absolutely gutted.

“What do they expect when they come down here? Did they get fair play? Well, I’ll let ye decide that. We’ll go back and we’ll scrutinise the video, so we will. But our first reaction was we were treated pretty badly down here.”

frankie-mcgrath Loughmore-Castleiney manager Frankie McGrath. Source: Tom Maher/INPHO

Weather conditions became wretched as the game progressed and with the pitch surface deteriorating in the second half, McGrath questioned the wisdom of choosing the Dungarvan venue to host the game.

With Leinster club matches next weekend being staged in Croke Park, the Loughmore boss believes Páirc Uí Chaoimh would have been a better choice of venue for today’s match.

“These guys absolutely deserve better. For the game to have to be played under floodlights today, two outstanding team and we have to play (here).

“Today was the big hurling match of the day and we played on a poor pitch, under lights. Was that necessary? So the powers that be that promote the game have some soul-searching to do. We’re doing our best to promote it. Absolutely. You’ve seen what we’ve been doing for the last number of months and we got rightly lauded for it and stuff.

“But it’s a bit hard to take then at the end of the road to be treated like that. And that’s no disrespect to the people that look after the pitch. They do the best that they can.

“Big teams in Leinster can go to Croke Park to play their games so they can. I mean that’s the very least that players are entitled to at this time of year. If they want the club season to happen at this time of the year…they’re talking about the split season, then take the games to the playable pitches.

“Páirc Uí Chaoimh isn’t too far from here, an outstanding facility. Why couldn’t it have been played there? I’m sure Ballygunner wouldn’t have had any problem going there either.

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“Today is the first day I’ve gone on a little bit of a rant, but I think I’m justified.

“And if I’m not justified, let somebody come back to me and convince me otherwise.”

Ballygunner boss Darragh O’Sullivan concurred with McGrath on the tough conditions.

“It was roll up the sleeves, a war of attrition. Conditions were horrible. But you have to do that, the way the season has gone. There might have been questions as to whether we could do that, people mentioning the game with Borrisoleigh, but Borrisoleigh are a phenomenal team. People need to give credit to them for winning that Munster championship – they dug deep and were better than us on the day.

“Today – with the conditions, the county board did the best they could, but they probably didn’t expect this game to be up here either. The expectation would have been that it’d be in Walsh Park, but for various reasons it couldn’t be in Walsh Park. We were thrilled to come here, it’s a little bit of a bigger park, but it’s very cut up, while Walsh Park would be like a carpet.

“It’s strange we were up here on a very soft field when there’s a good field twenty miles away, and playing under lights…it’s just odd to me.

“The lads are clapping Loughmore off the field and they’re a phenomenal team.”


First published today at 17.45

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Fraher Field

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