By Thursday afternoon, there was still no word from Kilmacud as to what the club’s response would be to Glen’s objection to the outcome of Sunday’s All-Ireland club football final.
There have been plenty of rumours and informed speculation that within the club there is a hard-line view that no replay should be entertained. Of course, no decision on that can be taken until Kilmacud convey their response to the Croke Park’s Central Competitions Control Committee.
As the CCCC wait, there are a number of complications. Clearly the most straightforward resolution would be for the club to go quietly and accept the rationale for a replay.
Even in those circumstances, finding a date isn’t easy. There was no replay date set because Sunday’s final was designated, “winner on the day”. The Allianz Football League starts on Saturday and players from both clubs might expect to have an involvement with their counties.
Although Dublin and Derry play on the same day for the opening two weekends of the league, four of their next six matches are on different dates, making it difficult to slot the replay in on a Saturday or Sunday.
The Saturday of the blank football weekend on February 11th and 12th is also the date for Glen centrefielder Emmett Bradley’s wedding. The next blank weekend for the NFL is a month later, March 11th and 12th.
[ Kilmacud Crokes planning response to Glen’s objection to 16th man in club final ]
Finding a day that everyone can live with shouldn’t be beyond the CCCC but the date mightn’t be as far away from the traditional club finals’ spot in the calendar of St Patrick’s Day as initial joking suggested.
If Kilmacud resist the proposed sanction of replay, have they any realistic remedy? After all, the 16 men were broadcast live in all their supernumerary splendour.
There were two substitutions being made and set in motion in the 63rd minute as Danny Tallon was lining up the 45. The linesman, standing on the field, can be seen raising his flag to signify the first substitution and referee Derek O’Mahoney halts play for Tom Fox to come in for Paul Mannion, who on being informed, sticks out his hand and leaves.
The second arrival, Conor Casey then comes in but play resumes as he reaches front of the goal – with Dara Mullin, who he’s replacing, still standing on the goal-line where he took up position.
An argument from some in the club is that they were conducting a substitution when the referee played on and whistled for the 45.
A protest from Glen that the kick should be retaken in the immediate aftermath also fell on deaf ears.
Does the question come down to intent? If a team ends up with too many players on the field, is it an infraction of strict liability: they either have or have not? Or might it become a part of the “circumstances” considered when imposing a penalty under Rule 6.44?
It may be reasonably argued that it is the substituting team’s responsibility to conduct the process properly but precedent has generally involved mistakes, such as sending in too many substitutes or trying retrospectively to categorise one or more as blood subs, rather than the act of replacement itself.
It is established that a referee’s mistake is not grounds for overturning a result. In the 2005 DRA case between Limerick county board and Fr Casey’s, it was found:
“How an error at any particular stage in a game will affect the outcome is something of an imponderable, and the fact that injustice will occasionally result from a blanket protection of referees’ decisions is a consequence that must be borne by all. It is the lesser evil.”
[ Glen entitled to push for replay for ‘16th man’ controversy but it may not be that simple ]
Were this to apply to 6.44, it would make many challenges in situations like this redundant and the rule’s clear meaning puts responsibility on the team making the switch. There is, however, room for argument.
Any potential replay may not require floodlights.