MAYO manager Frank Browne and captain Sarah Tierney wonder whether All-Ireland final referee Seamus Mulvihill was influenced by pre-match comments from Dublin boss Mick Bohan.
Browne said that while Mayo had ‘no complaints’ about the result, some of ‘the decisions around yellow cards’ were ‘interesting to say the least’. The Wexford native said he’d have to have ‘a closer look’ at the free count and foul count but, while congratulating Dublin, he mused: “I just wonder was the referee kinda ‘got to’ with all the stuff that was going on during the week”.
That was a reference to comments by his Dublin counterpart Bohan, who suggested before the game that Mayo forward Cora Staunton ‘knows how to get her frees’ and ‘knows how to intimidate referees’. Those quotes prompted a furious reaction from Mayo coach Peter Leahy, who branded Bohan’s statements as ‘ridiculous’ and ‘very insulting’.
Speaking after last Sunday’s game, Frank Browne said Bohan’s remarks were ‘a little bit over the top’ and ‘probably wasn’t really in the best interests of the sport’.
He described Cora Staunton as ‘not just an icon of ladies Gaelic football but of Irish sport’, praised her humility, and said she was ‘too much of a professional’ to allow the statements to put her off her game. He denied that Bohan’s words had affected the Mayo camp, adding: “If anything, it probably gave us a little bit more ammunition”.
That interpretation was backed up by his captain, Sarah Tierney, who said that Mick Bohan was ‘a very calculated man’ and that Mayo ‘weren’t very happy about’ what he had said about Cora Staunton. “Don’t get personal about things; play the game,” she added, confirming that Mayo used Bohan’s interview ‘as motivation’ in the build-up.
“I think it’s a bit mad that we had three sin-bins and Dublin didn’t have any,” the Hollymount player told The Mayo News. “There was a lot of off-the-ball stuff up in our forward line, so you’d just question it. I think Mick Bohan’s interview during the week was very interesting. I think he’s a very calculated man, trying to get inside the referee’s head, so maybe that had an impact today.”
Speaking after last Sunday’s game, Mick Bohan hailed Cora Staunton as ‘an outstanding sportswoman’ who ‘influenced every game she’s played in because of how good she is’.
He suggested that he had used the wrong phrase, denied that the comment had been made to influence the match official, and hinted that he had been misquoted.
“I was nearly sure I used the word ‘influence’, right?” he told Rob Murphy on The Mayo News Football Podcast. “I didn’t use it to be thrown out there to influence the referee... I literally, unwisely, sat down and had a conversation about football ... it was a learning curve for me.
“It hurt me during the week to see those things being put out. And ultimately, you know, what could I do? I had to take it on the chin.
“My job is to try and protect my team ... I was talking about game management.
“And if I used the wrong terms ... I don’t do my business like that. I think anyone that’s ever dealt with me in sport would know that’s not the way I do my business.
“And if you came into our dressing-room, you wouldn’t have heard one negative thing said about any of our opponents over the course of the summer. Because ultimately, if we don’t respect our opponents, how could we respect the prize?”
Asked whether he had regrets about it, Bohan replied: “I certainly did. I was very disappointed ... It probably nearly shows you why people don’t open up. Because if you take a full conversation and put it out there, it represents the topic better. But if you take parts of a conversation and put them out there, it doesn’t represent what the topic is about. And I just felt disappointed about that. “And it did hurt me, and I was concerned that it could hurt the group, and that was something I carried a bit of a weight on me over the last few days. But I’ll learn from it.”