Limerick manager Donal O’Grady has issued a plea to referee James McGrath,ahead of Saturday’s Allianz National Hurling League Division Two Final against Clare at Cusack Park.
While he has no problem with the toss of a coin having been used to decide the venue, O’Grady believes the home crowd could influence the Westmeath official.
“You’re going in to play Clare, above in Ennis, up in Cusack Park, so there’ll be a big home crowd there and, I’m not saying, you don’t see it too often.
“But in tight games, let’s be honest, refereeing decisions can be crucial, or whatever else, and if there’s a big roar from the home crowd it can, from time to time, influence the officials, and a home game I think is worth a couple of points any time.
“It’s going to be a huge challenge to Limerick to go up to Ennis again.
“This is a totally different affair. I think the problem with Division 2 finals is that there’s so much pressure not to lose that it loses itself as a spectacle.”
However, Clare boss Ger O’Loughlin disagreed with ‘Grady, pointing to the controversial 65 metre free which was given to Tipperary in the 2009 Munster U21 HC final in Ennis.
“I honestly haven’t seen that happen in Ennis this year. I don’t know, maybe it’s the just games we’re playing in. But I don’t really think so, no. I think that’s Donal playing games a small bit.
“I honestly do feel myself that it won’t be the decisive factor on Saturday. If you look at the history books of Clare hurling, we lost an U21 Munster final to Tipp two years ago, that would tell you… a local call… you know!”