FORMER KILKENNY HURLERS Martin and Andy Comerford have 11 All-Ireland winners’ medals between them and were finding their senior county retirement pleasant until this summer.
The Cats were dumped out of the senior hurling championship before August after they fell extremely short against Cork, having been defeated in Leinster by Dublin.
The Comerfords have no problems admitting Kilkenny were off-colour this summer but have a long list of grievances about the manner in which they were forced to take an early exit. Top of that list is Henry Shefflin’s red card, against the Rebels, that was later rescinded by GAA officials.
Speaking to GAA Banter, Andy Comerford claimed, “There was definitely a conspiracy, from somewhere anyway, to get Kilkenny beaten, in regards to decisions against the team and how the players were treated by referees.
“Brian Cody didn’t say too much about it; he was very, very reserved in what he said about refereeing decisions.”
Three-time All-Star Andy Comerford added, “[Decisions in the Cork game] looked very bad from the stand, the way some of the decisions went… When it was in the melting pot and we had to get a decision for the referee, it went against us and cost us a match.”
He then referred to the red card — for two yellows — that Shefflin received against Cork in the All-Ireland quarter final. “It was too obvious, from the stands, to see the decisions going against Kilkenny. It was too obvious to the media. It was too obvious to everyone.
If it’s obvious to that amount of people,” he added, “then there is obviously something going on; that referees have it in for Kilkenny this year… If some referees can live with that on their conscience then so be it. I know I wouldn’t be able to live with it on my conscience if I was a referee… Kilkenny came up against a referee that wanted them beaten.”
Reflecting on a disappointing summer, Andy Comerford stated his belief that the Kilkenny were stretched too far following their commitment to the Allianz hurling league. He commented, “I suppose, for years there Kilkenny would focus a lot of attention on the league and this year it was absolutely detrimental to their Championship chances. It has proved so in the last few matches as the team was banging up injuries and running out of petrol.
“After winning two All-Irelands, it is very, very difficult to keep it going and going and going… Kilkenny didn’t need to go through the back year this year. They needed to win the Leinster championship.”
You can listen to the full GAA Banter interview with the Comerfords here>>>