eir sport’s Joe Brolly was among a host of pundits to criticise Kerry captain David Clifford’s red card in the game against Tyrone on Sunday.
Tyrone won a very tight game by 0-14 to 0-13 in blustery conditions in Edendork after the Healy Park pitch in Omagh had failed a late inspection.
It was nip and tuck all the way, but what was probably the critical moment in the match came four minutes from time when Tyrone substitute defender Ben McDonnell and Clifford got involved in a scuffle which saw the Kerry skipper, who had been booked earlier, pinned to the floor.
Although the Fossa man had his arms in the air in an attempt to show that he wasn’t retaliating, the referee opted to book both players after consulting with the two umpires behind the Tyrone goal.
That meant red for Clifford and the Kingdom were forced to play out the remainder of the game with 14 men as Tyrone held on for a crucial victory.
Brolly was quick to register his disgust at what he saw as a very poor decision.
“Scandalous behaviour by Tyrone management to get David Clifford sent off,” he said on Twitter. “Bringing on a sub to wrestle him to the ground.”
Former Armagh star Oisin McConville was equally unhappy. “For an umpire to make a call like that is just disgusting,” he told the BBC.
“Tyrone targeted him because he was on the second yellow card and as a result of that got him sent off.
“It’s a ridiculous situation which is happening more and more. Defenders are overly physical on forwards and all of a sudden the referee takes the easy option, let’s book the two of them.
“Unfortunately for David Clifford he had already been booked for an innocuous tackle in the first half.
“It’s very disenchanting for somebody like David Clifford who is one of our top players. He should be getting protection. That’s what he should have got from the umpire today.”
Former Kilkenny goalkeeper also reacted, arguing that officials should be able to realise what is going on.
“Two points up but a man down, what do you do?” he asked on Twitter. “Single out an opposition player on a yellow, drag him to the ground and even things up.
“Scandalous that officials don’t cop onto this.”
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