Former Cork hurling management feel club refereeing on Leeside is an issue

Former Cork hurling management feel club refereeing on Leeside is an issue
Ex-Cork manager John Meyler. Picture: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

FORMER senior hurling boss John Meyler and selector Kieran 'Fraggie' Murphy believe the style of refereeing on Leeside hinders Cork team in the Munster and All-Ireland arena.

Meyler and Murphy were on duty on rain-swept Saturday night at Páirc Uí Rinn for RTE's excellent coverage of a Cork SHC quarter-finals double-header. 

Glen edged out Newtown in an engaging battle to set up a semi-final against Carrigtwohill, while champs Imokilly now face St Finbarr's after sweeping Sars away in the second half of a bitty encounter that saw William Kearney and James Sweeney sent off for the club outfit.

Kearney and Sweeney were dismissed for second yellow cards by Colm Lyons, with Kearney's viewed as particularly harsh. That led to a debate chaired by Evanne Ní Chuilinn on how the game is officiated on Leeside.

"It's refereed differently," said Meyler, who was Cork manager for the past two seasons and a selector before that.
"Cork is refereed by the rules of the book. When I go to Thurles or matches in Kilkenny and it's a different game. They apply the rules here and that's just it. When you play in the Munster Championship it's totally different.

"I think it is (hampering Cork). The intensity of the game, the continuity of the game, the excitement is not there. I know the conditions were poor but there were two matches here last week that were stop-start as well and there was no flow."

As a Sars club man, Fraggie Murphy was disappointed with the result but sympathised with the referees trying to officiate in treacherous conditions and given the scrutiny they're under. Indeed Nemo's Colm Lyons is hugely experienced having been in the middle for All-Ireland club, provincial inter-county and league finals.

"It's very hard to referee in the conditions. Contrast the first game and Nathan Wall left it flow a lot more. You would have heard Newtown fellas giving out that he could have given them a free there towards the end to level but he left it go and we'd a real exciting, hard-hitting game.

"Referees are under real pressure because they have accessors in the stand and if they're not meeting the criteria, ticking the boxes, giving the yellows as per the requirements they're missing out on getting games. It's something that needs to be addressed."

Meyler is a regular at club matches from junior upwards in Cork and beyond.

"The club game is refereed differently. You contrast the refereeing to Kilkenny. You hardly see a referee in Kilkenny."

Murphy agreed the difference between the Cork club game and Munster championship can leave teams undercooked.

"You have to appreciate the time of year the Munster club is played. It's hard, it's physical and you need to be primed for that. If you're here and getting a yellow card for a flick across the hurley, you're not getting them in Munster club and you're not getting them in senior inter-county. 

"It is a talking point here, you see it in the media a lot, it's a constant thread the journalists are putting out, the ease at which frees are given in Cork.

"Any club team going into Munster club, I know from my own experience going up to Kilmallock, Thurles Sars, it's hard-hitting and it's inter-county style refereeing."

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