Sunday was another major hurling day, but unfortunately refereeing decisions once again grabbed most of the headlines.
In the minor game Kilkenny and Waterford had a player sent off for what were innocuous incidents. I do not think the sending off of the two players impacted the result, but then we will never know.
The dismissal of Ryan O’Dwyer, though, had a significant impact on Dublin’s chances in the senior game. Again we will never know if his sending-off affected the result, possibly not, but Dublin will feel aggrieved at O’Dwyer’s first yellow card which he received early.
The Kilkenny youngsters battled bravely against Waterford but came up short. The Déise were marginally the better side and should have made much better use of the chances that came their way midway through the second half.
Goals win games and that was certainly true on Sunday’s when Waterford scored two that were to prove crucial at the finish. The Kilkenny defence will be disappointed at the concession of both, particularly the second one when the Waterford attacker was allowed to run quite a distance before firing the ball into the corner of the Kilkenny net.
Aside from conceding two goals the Kilkenny defence coped admirably. The Kilkenny selectors replaced both midfielders during the game, while the Cats attack struggled, scoring just five points from play.
Most of the Kilkenny scoring came from Alan Murphy frees. The Glenmore man scored 10 points from all distances and angles.
While the referee was somewhat whistle-happy, many of those frees came as a result of Waterford’s indisciplined. The Déise must improve on this if they are to have any chance of winning the All-Ireland.
Young lads dream of playing in Croke Park but both Shane Bennett (W) and Eoin Kenny (K) will be disappointed to have been sent-off. In both cases the referee seriously erred.
This was simply bad judgement calls and the only positive outcome might be that the Limerick official will learn from his double-mistake.
I was surprised that Kilkenny played an extra defender in the closing stages after Eoin Kenny had been dismissed. I thought we might have pushed a player forward because many clearances were poorly directed and were returned quickly by unmarked defenders.
The young Kilkenny lads and the team mentors will be disappointed to have lost but they battled bravely and honestly to the finish. Well done to all.
In the senior game, the result was as I predicted. When Dublin look back they will acknowledge that they missed a great opportunity to reach the final.
The first half had little physicality with lots of open hurling and from an early stage Dublin had problems in defence and midfield. Both sides scored freely from play and the deftness of the skills from the players was a joy to watch.
The second half was more competitive with no clear winner emerging until Patrick Horgan’s goal. Paul Ryan will be disappointed with his free taking. I felt he looked far from assured any time he stepped up to take a free. In general play he was well marshalled by Shane O’Neill.
Ryan O’Dwyer’s first yellow card was a poor judgement call by James Owens. One could say the same of his decision to only issue a yellow card to Liam Rushe for what appeared to be a clear red card.
While the Wexford official made a couple of questionable decisions, this was one of the better refereeing performances in 2013. The game was most enjoyable and highly entertaining but I did not see it as the epic.
True, the effort all round was top class and the victory went to the team with the cuter and sharper hurling skills.
When did we last see a hurling championship tie with 19 players scoring? It was the type of game that gave players ample scoring opportunities.
It was great spectacle for the spectators and maybe that is what we should be getting used to if this new style of refereeing is to continue.