All-Ireland finals are clearly stressful for players and managers but what about the referee?
The man in the middle is so often overlooked when it comes to big games but that proved otherwise for last Sunday week’s drawn game when the pre-match build-up focused on David Gough’s affiliation to Dublin.
Gough’s credibility was questioned in some quarters but in the end, the Meath native performed excellently on All-Ireland final day and came away with a plethora of praise for not letting the negative exposure effect him.
The high profile official has confirmed that he spent a week with a sports psychologist in the lead up to Gaelic football’s biggest game in 37 years.
“It is like any other game. I spent the week beforehand with the sports psychologist who had prepared me for that moment,” Gough told the Six O’Clock Show.
“He just made it like any other game and I just couldn’t wait to get onto the pitch and throw the ball up. Everything else just fades into the background after that – the noise in the stadium, the full capacity – you don’t notice anything about it.
“You have 70 to 80 minutes of concentration. You see colours, numbers, jerseys, you don’t even recognise the players. So I didn’t feel any pressure going in at all.”
While his performance was lauded on most platforms there was some who took umbrage with Gough’s officiating, namely, Joe Brolly, who has been at the centre of attention this week after RTÉ’s decision to replace him for tomorrow evening’s replay.
Gaelic Football Referee David Gough reveals how he felt in the run up to the first clash between Dublin and Kerry and has his say on Pundit @JoeBrolly1993 not returning for the replay. @goughd4 pic.twitter.com/cSoRUR1ADL
— Six O'Clock Show (@SixOClockShow) September 12, 2019
Brolly criticised Gough on The Sunday Game for being “clearly influenced by the propaganda coming from Kerry.” The Derry man retracted his statement in his weekly column for Gaelic Life and declared that he had apologised to Gough for his remarks.
Gough confirmed that he and Brolly had indeed spoken and that the pair remain good friends.
“That’s his business with another TV company,” he said.
“Joe picked up the phone and rang me during the week. We had a chat. He explained his viewpoint, I explained mine. He apologised, we got on with life.
“We had a chat about various other different things and we’ll sit down and have a drink again when we see one another. There’s no fallout and we’re still as good friends as we always have been.”