Former Kilkenny defender Jackie Tyrrell said the spotlight should be placed on players "feigning injury" in the aftermath of Gearóid Hegarty's controversial sending off in Limerick's draw with Clare in Ennis on Sunday.
The 2020 Hurler of the Year was sent off for the second time this season, being shown two yellow cards by referee Colm Lyons, the first after taking a quick lineout, swinging his hurl in the general direction of David McInerney and the second after a tussle with Aaron Fitzgerald.
Both Hegarty and the Limerick management were bemused by the calls in question, John Kiely confirming afterwards that they would appeal the decision, even though no suspension pertains for the time being.
Hegarty has already been sent off in 2022 - in less contentious circumstances - after striking with the hurl against Galway in the Allianz League last February.
Nine-time All-Ireland winner Tyrrell believes that Hegarty is now being singled out by referees, both for his size and for the reputation he's begun to acquire.
"I can remember in Kieran's College, detention was on a Friday and the list used to go up during the week," Tyrrell said on the RTÉ GAA podcast.
"Everyone would gather around looking at it and the same culprits were always on it. Because when a teacher came into a classroom and there was trouble going on, they'd pick out the one or two usual lads. I feel Gearoid Hegarty is after going into that realm.
"Neither of them were yellow cards. How the first one was a yellow card baffles me.
"I get (the notion) that he shouldn't leave himself exposed or get involved in that kind of stuff but we're playing a game of hurling that has never been as intense or as physical.
"What did he actually do wrong in the second instance? Other than try tackle a guy and his hurl was there."
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Far from focusing on Hegarty, Tyrrell said the discussion should be on players who he contends are "feigning injury", perhaps exploiting the narrative around the Limerick wing-forward.
"I thought the big issue was how the Clare defender went down and made out he was shot.
"Gearóid Hegarty is a big physical man, he plays on the edge. Sometimes he fouls, sometimes he doesn't. But he's definitely being watched. He didn't do anything wrong yesterday and somehow he found himself on the sideline. That must be hugely frustrating. He's being spoken about this week and he did nothing wrong.
"It made no sense that he could be booked when he's taking a sideline - which Limerick always do quickly - and David McInerney stood in front of him.
"I think the accountability needs to be on the players that are feigning injury and that are going down and making this bigger than it is.
"How does he go about playing the game and putting in huge tackle counts every week? Of course his hurl is going to be in areas where it's going to be up or someone could wrap it around them and go down.
"But you hope in the spirit of the game that lads aren't going to feign injury. If that's the road we're going down, then we're in trouble because we can't lose that physicality."
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