Joe Canning believes that they should get "rid of the assessor in the stand"
“Without John Keenan’s refereeing, you wouldn’t have got the game we got."
In what came as no great surprise to GAA fans, Clare’s Peter Duggan and Rory Hayes and Galway forward Cianan Fahy have all been cleared to play in their All-Ireland SHC quarter-finals this weekend.
The appeals process has been under a lot of scrutiny in recent times, both in football and hurling, whether it's the Armagh vs Donegal debacle or now this.
Galway legend Joe Canning, was speaking as a Bord Gáis Energy Hurling to the Core ambassador at the launch of the County Pride T-shirts, and had his say on the current system.
“The system of how they got off, it is hard to know,” the 2017 Hurler of the Year says.
“I’m only just back in the country there this morning so I didn’t actually hear how they got off or what, but it is funny how a couple of days ago it was a match ban, two-match ban. All of a sudden they are free.
“Obviously, there is some kind of flaw in the system but if you go down that road of looking back at videos after matches, lads will be suspended left right and centre.
“It is an injustice to John Keenan especially. He did a great job in the game.
“In all honesty, it was one of the best referee performances I’ve seen in a long, long time. He added to the whole match.
"That was one of the best matches in the last 10, 20 years. One of the best Munster finals.
“Without John Keenan’s refereeing, you wouldn’t have got the game we got. He let the game flow. He pulled for frees when he had to.
“He tried to make it a proper game of hurling and you have to commend him on that. The suspensions are a bit harsh for his sake. He obviously didn’t see them on the day.”
Canning underlines the importance of having a referee who will allow the game to be a great game, such as the Limerick and care Munster final.
“You had a match there because the referee allowed it to be. He allowed it to be a physical 70-minute battle.
"Another referee refereeing that would not have got the Munster final. If you had a whistle-happy referee.
“I’m sure John Keenan went into Croke Park and his assessor docked him a load of marks, unfortunately, for things he didn’t pull for. That is the sad reality of it.
“Referees have a huge influence on the game. You saw it with John Keenan in the Munster final. He let the game flow.
"You saw it in other games where the whistle was blown. I think it was the Galway Dublin game in Leinster, did anyone watch the first half?
"The whistle going every few minutes. Stop-start. Stop-start. No flow to the game whatsoever.”
The Galway man returns to the time they played Westmeath in a league match and he was being tracked by Aonghus Clarke.
“Get rid of the assessor in the stand. I’ve said it before. I told the story about we played a league game and my marker got an early yellow card. Fifteen minutes later he tipped me down the back of the head. Just a tip.
“I said to the referee: ‘listen it is grand. I am fine. Don’t worry about it.’ He said no and brandished another yellow card, sent your man off after 25 minutes. I was like, What the f*ck? Why?
“He came up to me after and said, ‘Joe, I had to send him off. If I didn’t give him a yellow card for that foul hitting you in the helmet I might not be getting the next match.’ I told that story before.
“To me, that was ridiculous. No common sense whatsoever. I wasn’t hurt one bit. Pure accident. But yet, the referee was afraid he wouldn’t get the next match because his assessor would dock him marks.”
To help promote allyship and inclusivity in team sports, Bord Gáis Energy has created 32 limited edition GAA County Pride t-shirts.
The t-shirts are on sale from today at Hairy Baby for €20 and all proceeds will go to Focus Ireland to support young adults from the LGBTQI+ community who are experiencing homelessness. The aim of these t-shirts is to encourage support for the LGBTQI+ community and showcase that the GAA is a place for everyone.