Ciarán Wheland Joe Brolly have both retracted statements following Sunday’s drawn All-Ireland final between Dublin and Kerry.
The match in Croke Park took on a life of its own as Gaelic football’s biggest rivalry penned yet another excellent chapter in their neverending saga.
The big call on the day was referee David Gough’s decision to send off Jonny Cooper for persistent fouling against David Clifford. At half-time following Cooper’s dismissal both RTÉ analysts expressed views that it was harsh on the Dublin defender.
At the time, Whelan described it as ‘two lads coming together for a ball, simple as that’, however, the former Dublin midfielder has since backtracked on those claims.
— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) September 1, 2019
Speaking to the Independent’s Throw-In podcast, Whelan admitted that Gough was right.
“When Clifford went out for the ball, it looked like he used his body as any good forward does to push Cooper out,” said Whelan.
“I thought Cooper had made a genuine effort to get a hand in to try and block the ball. But listen, when you look back on it this morning and look at the replays, as Cooper is going down he does pull Clifford down with him so it’s hard to argue with Gough’s decision.
“I thought from Jonny Cooper’s perspective, for his game to finish based on three relatively mild enough fouls, it was harsh but I suppose Gough was technically right.”
Whelan feels that Dublin can take valuable lessons from Gough’s performance.
“I think there’s also a lesson in it from Dublin’s perspective. We see Gough has been very harsh on people grappling off the ball and making those calls.
“It’s probably something Dublin should have been tuned into in terms of the penalty but other referees would let a lot of that go.
“You look back over the years — Aidan O’Shea and Kieran Donaghy would have had multiple penalties if frees were given for grappling off the ball. But that’s the way Gough is. He picks up on things like that and like anything in preparation for the game, you have to be ready for it.
“But from Jonny’s perspective, I just thought he had three relatively mild enough fouls and it ended his game.
Meanwhile, Joe Brolly has come out and apologised to David Gough following Sunday’s final.
Writing in his column for Gaelic Life, Brolly apologised for comments he made at half-time suggesting that Gough had been influenced by propaganda stemming from the controversy around his appointment.
“I believe he was played,” writes Brolly.
“I suggested in the heat of the moment that David may have been influenced by the propaganda emanating from Kerry in the lead up to the game. Afterwards, I contacted David to apologise for this. It was wrong of me and unfair on David, who is a man of integrity and honour.”