Owens spot on with Hogan red card
Co. Wexford referee James Owens figured in the only controversy of note in the All-Ireland Senior hurling decider between Tipperary and Kilkenny, but it didn't decide the game.
Owens had a huge first-half call to make in the Richie Hogan/Cathal Barrett incident where the Kilkenny maestro appeared to make contact with the head of Barrett with his elbow.
Hogan had required treatment after an earlier incident with Barrett that was not deemed worthy of a card.
The majority of pundits are of the opinion the Kilrush/Askamore clubman made the right decision by brandishing a straight red but it was not the call that turned the game.
Writing in this paper today, Wexford legend Billy Dodd says James Owens got the call spot on.
'In my opinion James did his usual top-class job, reinforcing his rating as one of the best referees in the country,' writes Dodd.
'The sending off of Richie Hogan was the main talking point of the game and is being deemed as controversial.
'Nobody likes to see a player being sent off in the All-Ireland, especially a player of legendary status and with such ability to influence games, but the call was right.
'Referees want teams to finish games with the full complement of players as much as supporters do, and it's the players that usually make the wrong decisions, not the referee.
'Referees don't have the benefit of slow-motion replays and must make up their mind based on their view of the incident as it happens at match pace.
'The point I would make is if the same thing happens in the football final on Sunday week, and the offender is Diarmuid Connolly against any Kerry player, would the same level of questioning/analysis/criticism be prevalent? I don't think so. Thousands would be screaming 'straight red' from the stands and at their televisions.
'To James' credit he kept his cool, took his time, consulted the linesman and made the big decision.
'More importantly that decision did not influence how he refereed the rest of the game as he continued to maintain control. Another top-class performance by the Askamore man,' he added.