Time off: Tadhg Kennelly's early foul merited a red card

In this column last Sunday I said that it was imperative that Marty Duffy applied all of the rules all of the time if he was going to have a good performance in the All Ireland final. In particular, I pointed out that he must not shy away in issuing red cards if merited, even if it happens in the first minute of play.

Within three seconds of the throw-in Nicholas Murphy was floored by Tadhg Kennelly. The referee had a good view of it and it was an easy decision for him to issue Kennelly with a red card. But he bottled out of it and just awarded a free for the foul.

The obvious question is: how did Kennelly arrive in the middle of the field in less than three seconds to deliver his strike if he had been behind his own 45-metre line before the throw-in as is required by rule? It is clear that he had broken that rule too. Had Duffy given Kennelly his marching orders, it would have had a major bearing on the game because as it transpired he played a big part in Kerry's victory.

I presume the CCCC will be requesting Duffy to review this incident on video. If so, he will have no alternative but to say that he made a mistake and should have issued a red card. If he says that he did not see the incident, then the CCCC is free to act and can charge Kennelly. It was a Category 2 Infraction, which carries a minimum suspension of four weeks. As it was the last game in the competition for 2009, the suspension (if he receives one) will not carry over to 2010 insofar as he will not miss the next game in next year's championship. However, the minimum for a Repeat Infraction (within a 48 week period) is eight weeks suspension in the same code and at the same level as that at which the infractions were committed.

Duffy also failed to issue yellow cards when merited. For example, in the 10th minute Paul Galvin pulled Donncha O'Connor around the neck and brought him to the ground. While he awarded some very questionable frees to both teams, it became clear that Kerry benefited more.

Duffy also missed out on numerous technical fouls. In the second half, Paul Galvin bounced the ball twice and wasn't penalised. Less than five minutes later Darren O'Sullivan bounced the ball twice and scored a point. In the 66th minute, Cork's Donncha O'Connor also bounced the ball twice and was not penalised. To clarify: each of the above players played the ball against the ground twice in succession and took it back into their hands on each occasion, and that is a foul.

He also failed to penalise players for over carrying, such as the 12 steps taken by Tommy Griffin in the 51st minute of the game. There was a total of 59 illegal hand-passes (throw balls) in this game and not one of them was penalised by the referee. Kerry's foul rate from hand-passing was almost 27 per cent and Cork's was almost 23 per cent. Overall a quarter of all hand-passes were illegal.

Prior to the final, Duffy's last game in the championship was on 25 July. In fairness to him that was not his fault but it's a long time to be out of action without a big game. If any of the Cork or Kerry players had not played a game in nearly two months they would not have started last Sunday.