Croke Park officials are to investigate the disgraceful scenes at the end of the AIB All-Ireland club semifinal in Limerick last Sunday when Gardai (police) had to restrain Portlaoise officials looking to attack referee Michael Duffy.

Portlaoise were beaten by Clare side Kilmurry-Ibrickane in a major shock (1-14 to 0-8), and their fans were none too pleased with Duffy’s performance.

Duffy red carded defender Brian Mulligan for a high tackle in the first minute of the game, then sent captain Brian McCormack off for a second yellow card.

The referee was escorted off the field by local Gardai at halftime and again at full time as Portlaoise tempers boiled over.

Beaten manager John Mulligan, father of Brian, was heavily critical of Duffy after his team’s defeat.

He said, “I thought it was a joke. If the man has a conscience, he won’t sleep for a long time. I don’t want to sound a bad loser, but the red card for Brian was an absolute joke of a refereeing decision.

“He caught him a bit high, it was definitely a free but a yellow would have sufficed. There is no such thing as consistency. One of their players came in as a sub, hopped off one of our lads and the referee did nothing.

“I asked him about it at halftime and he wasn’t going to entertain me.”

Winning boss Micheal McDermott defended Duffy however and said, “The referee made a call on the dangerous tackle early on and if that happens, you’ve to go off for it.

“I thought he did a good job today and it was sad to see the scenes on the field there with the referee.”

O Se Retires

TRIBUTES have poured in for the Kerry midfield legend Darragh O Se, who confirmed his retirement from inter-county football last week.

The talented midfielder won six All-Ireland medals and three All-Stars in his 15-year inter-county career.

“I was thinking about it for a long time,” Ó Se told the Irish Daily Star. “I met Jack O’Connor two weeks ago and I said that if I was going to be back, I’d be back by this week.

“I met Jack and the selectors on Tuesday and told them that I wasn’t going to be back. I just felt it was time to go -- 16 years is a long time. There’s no shortage of midfielders in Kerry and there’s plenty of young talent coming through.

“I realize that I will miss the dressingroom and the camaraderie that goes with playing with Kerry. I know that it will hard to be a spectator after playing for so long, but it was time to make the decision.”

Fellow Kerry legend Mick O’Dwyer said, “It’ll be very hard to replace Darragh because he was a real leader on that team, there’s no doubt whatsoever about that.”

O’Connor admitted, “It’s obvious that Darragh is going to be a massive loss. He has been a colossus for Kerry football for so many years and players like Darragh only come along in a generation.

“He is right up there with the greatest midfielders that Kerry ever produced, up there with the likes of Jack O’Shea and Mick O’Connell so that says it all about the man.”

Limerick Loses

UNDER fire Limerick boss Justin McCarthy vowed to fight on after his new look side were beaten by Galway by seven points (1-18 to 1-11) in their NHL opener in Kilmallock on Sunday.

“We played very well, showed great heart and determination,” McCarthy told reporters afterwards.

“Maybe if we scored the penalty which was missed by Paudie McNamara that could have changed the result but in fairness I was delighted with the way they competed.

“I would say that answered some of the critics, yeah. There was massive support, which was great and we carry on.”

Galway manager John McIntyre said, “We expected this young Limerick side to have a right go at us and they did -- we had to unload the bench to dig us out of trouble.

“What people shouldn’t forget, however, is that one-third of our team today was making their National League debut so we were inexperienced in a lot of positions as well, and it’s a learning curves.”

Cork Wins

CORK boss Denis Walsh promised not to read too much into his team’s 11-point win (1-22 to 1-11) over Offaly in the NHL opener at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

“The game was like our championship game last year,” said Walsh. “The scoreline probably flattered us a bit. Offaly more than held their own and were quite dangerous. The goal we got pulled us away a bit.

“Now we have another game in six days against Limerick and we’re focused on that, and on getting two points. After that there’s a bit of a break, and then we have the Kilkenny game.”

Offaly boss Joe Dooley said: “Cork will take some beating this year. We held our own in the first half and if we’d gotten a goal in the first half. But it’s all about the second half. That’s the half that matters.”

Joyce to Return

PADRAIC Joyce has targeted a return to action in this summer’s Connacht championship as he recovers from an Achilles tendon operation and could make his seasonal debut in the opening game away to New York on May 2.

Manager Joe Kernan told the Irish Independent, “A player of his class and experience is a great asset in any squad. Hopefully, he’ll be back to full power and fitness for the championship. That’s the target now.”

GAA Shorts

DUBLIN star Alan McCrabbe has been cleared to play in next weekend’s NHL action after fears that he broke his leg in last Sunday’s defeat to Waterford proved unfounded. Scans have confirmed that the injury is no more than bad bruising to the leg . . .

KERRY’S Paul Galvin could be hit with an eight-week ban if his appeal against the red card picked up in the recent NFL defeat to Cork fails. Cork’s Eoghan Cadogan, who was sent off in the same game, faces a four-week ban . . .

TYRONE’S County Board have backed down on claims by manager Mickey Harte that they could television coverage of their National League games in a bid to stop retrospective bans being handed down to their players . . .

THE GAA has announced plans to distribute the million rent received from the soccer and rugby internationals at Croke Park in grants worth €250,000 to every county board . . .

TIPPERARY were due to host Kilkenny on Tuesday night in their re-arranged NHL opener after snow in Thurles forced the postponement of the original fixture last Saturday night . . .

THE postponed AIB All-Ireland club semifinal between Corofin and St. Gall’s will take place under floodlights in Parnell Park this Saturday . . .

DCU made history as the first third level team to lift the O’Byrne Cup with a narrow one-point win over holders Louth in the final on Sunday . . .

DUBLIN footballer Eamonn Fennell could have his disputed transfer from O’Toole’s to St Vincent’s ratified by the DRA next week . . ..

MAYO’S Mark Ronaldson is to appeal his four-week retrospective ban arising from an incident in the recent NFL win over Tyrone . . .

THE Compromise Rules series between Ireland and Australia will resume in October with games in Limerick and Croke Park . . .

REPORTS in Westmeath claim that experienced forward Denis Glennon has quit the county team.