Tommy Carr believes Westmeath's chances of pulling off a shock win over Kerry were hampered by a poor perfomance by referee Martin Higgins.
The Lakesmen were leading by six points in the second half, but Carr reckons an incorrect call from a kick-out in the lead up to Darran O'Sullivan's goal for Kerry changed the direction of the second round qualifier.
The former Dublin, Roscommon and Cavan manager is convinced the decision was a major turning point in the game at Cusack Park in Mullingar.
"Players went for the ball, as they do, physical contact happened...and there was a free given," Carr told RTÉ Radio's Take Your Point.
"Now, you ask me why was the free given. I don't know, and I'd say there's 7,000 or 8,000 people don't know, only the referee knows.
"But I actually wonder does the referee even really know, because he saw a Kerryman going to the ground.
"The Westmeath players turned, arms out in dismay, and the ball was kicked quickly and Darran O'Sullivan went in and got the goal. That really was the turning point of the game.
"Following that then there may have been two or three frees given against Westmeath, for Kerry obviously, that were converted as well and that was the story of the game.
"Now, that's not to say that Westmeath should have won, but they could have won, and certainly weren't assisted by the refereeing decisions."