Hawk-Eye worth persevering with but not so sure about Limerick’s objection
The GAA is trying to improve quality of scoring adjudication but should mistakes invalidate match outcomes?
Where that leaves the Limerick minors is another matter. After a particularly painful afternoon for the county it is perhaps not surprising that the extra-time defeat has been turned into a cause celebre after the injustice of being stripped of a valid score by a technical error.
If however the winning “goal” in the last minute of the 2010 Leinster final was not susceptible to revision, it’s hard to see how an incorrectly disallowed point in the first minute will deliver any more satisfactory an outcome for the aggrieved.
Would the intervention of malfunctioning technology change this? Again it’s difficult to see how this would happen. Part of what governs all participants in organised sport is an acceptance that incorrect decisions may on occasion go against them. It’s the natural consequence of human arbitration. The GAA have been careful to incorporate the score detection technology into the referee’s duties and the match official has to endorse the Hawk-Eye verdict by recording it in his report.
By the way, referees were explicitly told to go with the verdict box on the big screen, simply because peering at the trajectory would (ironically) carry too much risk of getting it wrong.
The rule book doesn’t offer much comfort because it explicitly states that no objection to a match result can be “submitted on grounds that a referee had incorrectly allowed or failed to allow a score”. Significantly, it doesn’t stipulate how he came to act incorrectly.
There has been an endorsement of this by the Disputes Resolution Authority in a 2005 ruling – coincidentally originating in Limerick – on a match between the Fr Casey’s club and St Senan’s. Aside from supporting the basic proposition that refereeing errors in respect of scores can not be used to challenge the outcome of matches, the DRA outlined the obvious exception.
This arises where “a referee is shown to have had an improper motive amounting to a corruption of his role as an impartial arbiter of fact and rule” – in other words, bad faith.
On Sunday evening Limerick manager Brian Ryan was remarkably stoical and dignified about the misfortune that had befallen his team saying of the contentious incident that cost him team that early point.
He and his county are of course perfectly entitled to pursue their objection to the weekend’s result and so his post-match comments will not be the final word on the matter. That may well go all the way to the DRA.