Eoin Kelly: GAA Hierarchy need to leave the game alone

Former Tipperary captain Eoin Kelly has called on Croke Park hierarchy to ‘leave the game alone’ in the wake of Noel McGrath’s red card last weekend…

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The application Tipperary showed against Wexford last weekend was great, they fought and scrapped until the final whistle.

I’ve never seen as many rucks in a game of hurling and the way Tipp contested them was an example of how up for the fight they were.

The performance reminded me at times of Liam Sheedy’s first spell in charge, it was brilliant to see that hunger there.

I have to talk about Noel McGrath’s red card though. Firstly, no one will argue with the first yellow he received.

The second yellow was very harsh though, the fact that it was under the main stand and right next to the Wexford management didn’t help either. The roar of the crowd can influence a referee too.

Would he have been sent off for that in Championship? I don’t think so.

It wasn’t even a high tackle! If he was red carded for that in Championship you wouldn’t forgive the referee for it.

‘Leave the game alone’

I hate going there, but a couple of decisions especially towards the latter stages of the game didn’t go Tipperary’s way when they should have.

Colm Lyons gave a lot of frees in the game, and even in the Cork v Clare game the night before the ref blew a load in that too.

Referees seem to be under pressure to use the whistle at the moment.

Last year we had a great Championship, so if it’s not broken, what are they trying to fix? Leave the game alone!

Bar the goalline decision between Tipp and Waterford last season, referees weren’t being talked about at all and that was an umpiring call anyway.

Now we have them all over League Sunday at the weekend, what does that tell you?

This is all coming from the hierarchy in Croke Park, but we want to see free-flowing hurling. Why are they trying to change the mindset of referees now?

We had a referee-free summer last year.

We don’t want to be talking about them and I’m sure the refs don’t want us talking about them either. The lines of communication need to be way clearer, you don’t need a committee tweaking things just to be seen to be doing something.

Limerick looking lordly

Limerick are without question the most complete squad in hurling at the moment, they’ve 23/24 hurlers at the right age and they’re playing perfectly to a system that’s been in place for a few years now.

The champs are just playing carefree hurling and look to be enjoying everything about it – on the field and off it.

Winning that All-Ireland has liberated them almost, whereas other teams look to have a noose around their neck when they win it.

They are in a great place by the looks of it. I’m still interested to see how they go in the summer though, as John Kiely knows the season will ebb and flow yet. You have to get momentum at the right time and there’s some amount of twists and turns to come.

Cody will want to see Limerick again

The Cats are usually good to adapt, but Limerick threw something completely different at them on Sunday which they couldn’t handle.

Limerick always seem to produce their best hurling against Kilkenny because they are one of the few teams that can match them physically and they out-muscled them. The Treaty lads were moving like gazelles, breaking tackles and coming off the shoulder for the ball.

That’s where Cody would be angry because Kilkenny couldn’t match that.

I’ll tell you this much though, if Kilkenny met Limerick later in the year just sit back and enjoy it. Cody will want to see them again.

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