Glen express disappointment at GAA’s failure to review ‘breach of rules’

Derry club have been asked to lodge an objection if they want to challenge Sunday’s All-Ireland final

Derry champions Glen have expressed disappointment that the GAA have not provided clarification on “the breach of rules” at Sunday’s All-Ireland club football final,” according to a statement on social media.

The club’s response follows the controversy of the 16th Kilmacud player on the field at the end of the match, won 1-11 to 1-9 by the Dublin side.

Although Glen also announced that it would take some further time “to ascertain our stance going forward,” the deadline for any objection is Wednesday, within 72 hours of the match.

The rule book is nonetheless clear that the penalties for fielding more players than allowed are imposed “on proven objection”.


The GAA has made no statement on the matter but is awaiting the decision from Glen. It is believed that the report of referee Derek O’Mahoney has been received with no further light being shed on the controversy.

Should the matter be progressed, Croke Park’s Central Competitions Control Committee would have access to audio links between the match officials, which would include Glen’s contention that they had asked the fourth official to have the 45 at the end of the match retaken.

There is a reluctance to launch an investigation as the infraction is clear and obvious with 16 players visible as the last play of the match takes place.

Referees’ decisions are not disputable when it comes to match outcomes even if a mistake has been made. That was established by the DRA in the matter of Fr Casey’s GAA club in Limerick back in 2005.

That does not however apply to situations like this, breach of match regulations, when the primary mistake is by the team itself in not making sure that they don’t have too many players on the field.

As the decision was awaited on Monday there were indications that should an objection be lodged, a rematch will be ordered. It is accordingly up to Glen if they wish to pursue that. They have three days to do so.

Nearly as soon as the match had ended in a 1-11 to 1-9 win for the Dublin champions, pictures were circulating on social media of the last-minute 45 metre kick about to be taken by Glen’s Danny Tallon with 16 Kilmacud players in the shot.

This arose because Dara Mullin, who was the TG4 man of the match, had not left the field after being replaced by Conor Casey. He stood on the line and eventually made his way off.

Although Glen manager Malachy O’Rourke said afterwards that he wasn’t intending to contest the outcome but also said that this was a personal opinion. “I can’t speak for the club but I just think we’ll accept we got beat on the day.”

The club later issued a statement saying they were seeking ‘clarification’ about the ‘potential’ – a qualification dropped by Monday night – breaking of rule.

The rule in question is 6.44. This refers to both fielding too many substitutes as well as having more than 15 players on the pitch. Penalties range, ‘depending on circumstances’ from fines to a rematch being ordered to forfeiture by the offending team.

Indications are that the authorities may consider fines too lenient and forfeiture excessive, making a rematch the likely resolution. Although Mullin had no material impact on the play that unfolded – he didn’t touch the ball – there is a view that it’s impossible to infer what would have happened had the correct number of players been on the field.

The calculation then is the balance of the contest, which at the time was a one-score match.

Fines have been levied previously when matches were essentially decided on the scoreboard but not when the result was still in doubt.

The view of officials appears to be that were they to opt for the most lenient penalty, the decision could by challenged to the DRA for failure to impose the appropriate sanction.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times