Joe Kernan slams 'diabolical' refereeing and AFL promotion of Adelaide test
IRELAND manager Joe Kernan slammed the refereeing in Saturday morning’s second International Rules test as “diabolical” and said that the Australians targeted Michael Murphy throughout.
Australia claimed the Cormac McAnallen Cup with a 116-103 aggregate win following a 53-50 win in front of a crowd of 30,112 in Perth.
It was a more physical encounter than the first, with Australia’s Joel Selwood given a black card just before half-time, with the teams squaring up for a shoving match on halfway as the hooter sounded soon after.
Murphy, who had been one of Ireland’s key players in the first test, was kept quieter by Robbie Tarrant– but Kernan felt it was more by foul means than fair.
“I’m very disappointed - we had the game there for the taking. In the last quarter we were caught too many times on the ball. You can’t complain about the effort the boys put in. It was first class. A loss of composure at times did cost us.
“I thought the refereeing was diabolical. Michael Murphy was tortured all day. If you look at last week we had handy frees given against our full-back line for holding men’s hands. Murphy was being dragged all through and never got a free.
“I don’t mind anyone being targeted if they get the cover - he got no cover in there today. We’ll look at the video but I don’t need to see it to know that Murphy was tortured all day.
“Aidan O’Shea got a forearm smash right in front of the dug-out. It should have been a straight red but it wasn’t even ticked.
“Having said that, the losing of the game was ourselves. In fairness to the Australians, they played very well.
“Everything we planned to do came up early on. We got two early goals and put them on the back foot. Even in the third quarter when we didn’t play all that well we hung on in there. The game was there for the taking in the last quarter. We just didn’t do enough.”
The Crossmaglen man also criticised the AFL for poorly advertising the first test in Adelaide, which attracted a crowd of just over 25,000.
Saturday’s game was expected to be close to a sellout but in the end, 30,112 turned out for the last ever game at Domain Stadium, which has a capacity of just over 43,000.
“I don’t how well the AFL advertised it. They didn’t do a good job in Adelaide. Some buzz out on the field. If we can get 30, 40, 50 thousand… and the closeness. There has been very little between the sides. Overall it’s good.
“It was a great spectacle – there was some great play. Our defence were brilliant in the second and third quarter - never allowed one high mark against us in the D.
“But the third quarter, we lost the ball nine times, six times in our own half-back line which you can’t afford to do against a team as good as Australia.
“You need to move it quicker against boys like that - when they see an opening, they come at you.”