KERRY GAA bosses have emphatically distanced themselves from the controversy surrounding the appointment of David Gough to referee the All-Ireland final.
The county board has stressed that the team and the Kerry management have no issue with the appointment as he is seen as one of the most experienced referees in the country.
Former Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and All-Ireland winning defender Aidan O’Mahony both went on record to say that although he hails from Meath, Gough would be the wrong choice as he was living and working in Dublin and that it could be unfair on the official himself.
Concern was also expressed about Gough’s handling of Kerry’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin in 2016 when he missed a very heavy hit on defender Peter Crowley and it robbed Kerry of a possible opportunity to level the game.
Although he has since apologised for that incident – claiming his view was blocked – it still rankles with Kerry supporters three years on.
With one fan revealing his intention to organise a protest to object to the Gough appointment at the Kerry team open day on Saturday, Kerry County Board Chairman, Tim Murphy, has moved to restore calm to the situation to allow Peter Keane and his team to prepare for the final without any further distractions.
He said the members of the Croke Park committee that appoints referees for All-Ireland finals are independent of everyone and they consider a number of factors, including experience and past performance, before making a recommendation.
“They are a group of people of the highest integrity,” he said.
On the Gough saga, Mr Murphy told Radio Kerry that the narrative was created and it gathered a great deal of momentum without people understanding how the process works.
He said the people that are writing and commenting negatively on the appointment are expressing personal opinions but it wouldn’t be his view, the view of the county board or Peter Keane and the team.
“We have complete confidence in the integrity of the process and the integrity of the people who made the decision to appoint David Gough as the referee and, ultimately, we have complete confidence in David Gough refereeing the All-Ireland football final,” he said.
The county board chairman, speaking to Jerry O’Sullivan on Kerry Today, said it’s a huge occasion for Kerry as it is the first time reaching the final for four years but, unfortunately, the narrative is focusing on the referee’s appointment.
“Kerry are a very proud football county and always do their talking on the field. I think in Kerry we need to focus on what we can control, not what we can’t control and put our energy into getting behind the team,” he said.
Mr Murphy said he was speaking on behalf of everyone in the county board, Peter Keane and the Kerry management team and the entire panel of players and they don’t have an issue with the appointment of David Gough.
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