O’Mahony insists there’s no Kerry mafia with a ‘witch hunt’ against All-Ireland ref Gough

AIDAN O’MAHONY HAS rejected the suggestion he’s part of a ‘Kerry mafia’ that took part in an orchestrated campaign to prevent David Gough from being appointed as the All-Ireland final referee.

Prior to his appointment, O’Mahony and former Kingdom boss Eamonn Fitzmaurice raised questions over Gough’s suitability to take charge of the game because he lives and works in Dublin.

The Meath native irritated Kerry supporters with his failure to award a free for a late foul by Kevin McManamon on Peter Crowley in their All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin in 2016.

But O’Mahony has insisted he has no issue with Gough refereeing the final as Dublin chase a historic five-in-a-row.  

“I gave my answer that the fact that he was working in Dublin and that he lives in Dublin that there would be a lot of pressure on him,” the Paddy Power ambassador said. 

“I suppose the media ran with a story that suited themselves and they got a good week out of it.

“To answer it, look, he’s reffing the All-Ireland final, I’ve no problem with that. I suppose the players and the management there at the moment, they won’t even look at that.

“They’ve enough to be concentrating on now for the next couple of weeks, the talk about the five-in-a-row and stuff so he’s reffing the All-Ireland final and it’s no different to a player starting his first All-Ireland final, you say best of luck to him.”

Meath native David Gough will take charge of the All-Ireland final.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

O’Mahony maintained there is no added pressure on the school teacher heading into the game due to the furore over his appointment. 

“Is there (extra) pressure on him? I doubt it, no. There’s always going to be pressure going into an All-Ireland final.

“This is probably the biggest game there’s been since the Offaly-Kerry game and I suppose the funny thing about it is, instead of Kerry going for the five-in-a-row they’re trying to stop the five-in-a-row. Look, we weren’t out there trying to do a media witch hunt to put pressure on him.

“It was just me being asked a question, I answered it and I think Eamonn Fitzmaurice gave his opinion as well. It isn’t that we’re on a WhatsApp group saying, ‘Jesus I’ll put something up now and you put something up later’.

“I could say from the journalists’ side, they were making a big song and dance about it that we shouldn’t have said this but if I’m asked my opinion on something, I’ll give it.

“From my side, when I was playing football I never spoke to the media and I was probably a pain in the ass to deal with and that was just the way I was.

“Now, I can give my opinion on something but there’s no pressure on David Gough. The pressure is that Dublin are going for the five-in-a-row, Kerry are trying to stop the five-in-a-row so there might be a bit of pressure on him for that reason.

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Paddy Power News columnist O’Mahony.

“There’s no mafia,” he continued. “They were going on about the weekend that there was a big thing going to be set up outside Fitzgerald Stadium, the open day, that they were going picketing and there was one person there. Jesus Christ almighty. I think it got two more days out of that.

“No, there’s no mafia against it. It’s just lads giving their opinion on it. Like it’s no different to Dublin giving their opinion on the final as well. I think that’s the beauty about this game, there’s so much riding on it.

“The five-in-a-row is massive and that’s going to be a talking point for the next two weeks and for our lads down in Kerry, there’s no pressure on them.

“I think a lot of people aren’t giving them a chance, even the lads below, so it’s the ideal game.

“It’s like the roles reversed, they’re gone from the team that was trying to do the five-in-a-row to the team that are trying to stop the five-in-a-row so for a young lad, it’s a great proposition to be in.”

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