Ref Justice (© Dept of Recycled Headlines)

One argument often advanced against the backdoor is that it removes the tension from Championship matches. After last night’s thriller in Thurles, it’s legitimate to question whether this is a good thing. The most bitter hurling match of recent times was the 2008 Munster Under-21 final, where Clare went from thinking they had won their first title at that level at the 12th attempt to being dumped out on their arses. And there were echoes of that last night as Waterford were left feeling hard done by after going so close to snatching a late win over Tipperary in the Munster quarter-final. I wasn’t at the game but Jackie Cahill, writing in the Indo, was in no doubt as to the central figure was over the 60 minutes. On the face of it, it seems we were hard done by.

However, this lark of surrounding referees after games has to stop. Tipperary supporters will be struggling to conceal their smirks at suggestions that Diarmuid Kirwan was biased in their favour after the events of the 2009 All-Ireland Senior final. The worst that can be said is that he had a bad day at the office, and it’s surely incumbent on experienced figures like Fergal Hartley, Tom Feeney and Derek McGrath to keep control of their players and their passions. Imagine how bad the confrontation between the entirety of County Louth and Martin Sludden would have been had Peter Fitzpatrick not waved his players away. Comfort should be taking for going down with all guns blazing, because there is no way flying off the handle is going to bring the game back.

Update: Tomás McCarthy thinks that whatever about the ref “the home side just about deserved their victory”. Read his report here.

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