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Gooch sings the praises of final marker McMahon

By Declan Bogue

While others might take offence on his behalf, Colm 'Gooch' Cooper makes light of the criticism of his marker in the All-Ireland final, Dublin's Philly McMahon.

The Ballymun man ended his season being shortlisted for the Player of the Year award, but there was a momentary flashpoint at the end of the All-Ireland final when Cooper initially refused to shake his hand. McMahon's abrasive style came under the microscope with allegations of gouging against Cooper's strike partner, Kieran Donaghy.

The Kerry forward explained: "You can talk about various points in his play, but the biggest point is that he had a fantastic season. He marked big players in big games and did very, very well against them.

"I've seen it with different players that they come under the microscope an awful lot. We've had it in Kerry with Paul Galvin for a number of years. Some of it fair, some of it unfair. That's just the nature of the beast but I just think he had a very good season with Dublin."

Following on from the 'All-Ireland Final' documentary screened recently on RTÉ, the 32-year-old expressed his surprise that referee David Coldrick was wearing a mic that captured conversations with Cooper, his team-mate Kieran Donaghy and McMahon.

He asked: "Should the players be told before the game? I think they should. It was there, not to catch out players I don't think, but it was there to show the public what really happens. But I think it would have been nice if they had let both squads know at least."

While the experiment was undoubtedly revealing, it followed along the same lines of a previous documentary aired on Setanta, when Coldrick was again wired for sound during the 2013 Ulster final between Monaghan and Donegal.

What emerged above all others from the two programmes is how much disrespect a referee is afforded during an important game.

While match officials in other sports such as American football and rugby are able to explain decisions to the whole stadium, Cooper believes that adopting such practise might not be a good move for the GAA.

He said: "The rules in rugby are very defined so most decisions are clear-cut enough. The GAA I would say is definitely not, so a referee in Kerry might have a different perception to a referee here in Newry.

"In rugby all the big games we watch are reffed by seven or eight of the top referees around the world and are well used to that and are going on courses worldwide. I think it would be a challenge for the GAA to get everything right. Maybe refs would feel under more pressure."

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