Dublin manager Anthony Daly refused to blame the sending off of Ryan O’Dwyer for his side’s defeat to Cork in the All-Ireland SHC semi-final, but did question the awarding of the first yellow card to the Kilmacud Crokes clubman.
Referee James Owens dismissed Ryan after 49 minutes for a tackle on Lorcán McLoughlin, yet the booking early on for a shoulder on Cork corner-forward Luke O'Farrell clearly irked Daly.
Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Daly said: “Having watched it again the second one was probably a yellow card, but the first booking was awarded right in front of me and Ryan made contact with the Cork player shoulder-to-shoulder.
"The refs are putting themselves under pressure throwing out these early yellows and I did have a problem with the first one. We were a point ahead when Ryan was sent off and then Anthony Nash scores the free and it’s level again. People will say that's it's a turning point.
“In saying that, Cork won the day and you take your beating. They showed a bit a coolness and we missed a few frees that proved to be crucial. I don’t want to put it all down to a refereeing decision; that’s not good sportsmanship. I wish Cork the best. Obviously if it’s Clare in the final I’ll be shouting for them."
When asked whether or not he was tempted to take O’Dwyer off after his first booking, Daly’s response was emphatic. “He was hurling really well, getting in all those blocks. You couldn’t take him off. It would have been a mad move on our part, yet if we had and finished the game with 15, we might have driven on. You just don’t know.
"Overall, I thought we hung in well when we did go a man down. Maybe we didn’t play the right ball in to our forward line late on. Then Pat Horgan gets a real poacher’s goal."
"I don’t want to put it all down to a refereeing decision; that’s not good sportsmanship. I wish Cork the best" - Anthony Daly
An overall assessment of the game led Daly to state that Dublin played the game on Cork’s terms early on. He explained: “We didn’t impose our game to the full effect in the first half. We regrouped after half-time and I felt we got a grip on things early in the second period.
"We went two up, could have been three and then Anthony Nash made a great save. Look, things happen and it was the type of game that something unexpected was sure to happen and it did in the second half.“
When asked about whether he will continue his tenure with Dublin, Daly, not surprisingly, was non committal.
"Every single year I have been asked this question when the season is over and I have said nothing. You don’t make decisions in sad dressing rooms and that’s what down there at the minute.
"What the future holds may be out of my hands. In saying that, I don’t think there is a rush for a decision as of now. I’m sure there are lads out there who’ll be eager to take over that Dublin team."