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Anatomy of a controversy: How Kilmacud Crokes ended up with 16 men on the field

Kilmacud Crokes mull over GAA decision to order a replay of final

Kilmacud Crokes are considering their position after the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee ordered the 2023 All-Ireland club senior football final be replayed.

Crokes have three days to challenge the judgement to the Central Appeals Committee, with that deadline arriving on Friday morning.

It is believed there are differing opinions within the Stillorgan club as to what move they should make next. An appeal to the CAC is unlikely to prove successful and so it would be more a means to an end as regards Crokes navigating through the GAA’s disciplinary process to arrive at the Disputes Resolution Authority.

The CAC rules largely on procedural grounds and the GAA’s Official Guide states appeals shall only be upheld where: ‘(i) there has been a clear infringement or misapplication of Rule by the Decision-Maker or (ii) the Appellant’s right to a fair hearing has otherwise been compromised to such extent that a clear injustice has occurred.’


The DRA, an external independent body, is likely to provide Crokes with a better chance of overturning the judgement.

A narrative has emerged that the Crokes players have no interest in contesting a replay, believing the fault lies with the match officials. Certainly, the strongest line of defence for Crokes is that it was the responsibility of the match officials on the day to properly handle the substitution process.

But there is a feeling among others in Kilmacud that they must be careful to protect the club’s reputation before deciding to proceed any further through the disciplinary system.

And while the next move in the saga is expected to be made by Crokes, there remains the slim chance Glen, content their objection was successful, could soften their stance and now look to park the saga.

Either way, if a replay is to go ahead, the next challenge for fixture makers is finding a suitable date. The weekend of March 11th-12th has been suggested as it marks the midpoint break in the Allianz Football League.

However, players from both clubs have already gone away on holidays, some are still abroad, while others have prearranged family and work commitments coming up over the coming weeks.

Anatomy of a controversy

(Three minutes of added time were announced for the end of the game. The following timelines are taken from TG4′s live coverage)

61:39 – As Glen goalkeeper Connlan Bradley prepares to take his kickout, a wide camera angle shows two Kilmacud subs on the sideline waiting to be introduced.

62:09 – Conor Ferris makes a brilliant save from a Conor Glass shot, the Kilmacud goalkeeper steering the ball behind for a 45.

62:44 – As Danny Tallon prepares to take the resulting 45, he is alerted to Kilmacud substitutions by a linesman standing on the 45-metre line, with his flag raised. Tallon looks over towards the Hogan Stand sideline, from where the players are emerging.

62:52 – The camera shows sub Tom Fox, wearing 10, entering the fray and running towards the Kilmacud goal. The graphic says Fox is replacing Mannion.

63:03 – Camera switches to Mannion, who is close to goal. As Fox jogs by him, Mannion initially looks confused. He turns and appears to look up at the big screen.

63:07 – Mannion, realising he was being replaced, starts jogging away from goal.

63:09 – Camera changes to sub Conor Casey, wearing 19, entering the pitch and running towards the Kilmacud goal. The graphic says Casey is replacing Dara Mullin.

63:14 – Casey arrives in the large square and goes to take up a central position. He quickly turns around to face the ball just as the whistle goes for play to resume.

63:17 – Referee Derek O’Mahoney blows his whistle for Tallon to take the 45. Tallon goes short to McGuckian. When the kick is taken, Mannion is still on the field but standing out near the sideline.

McGuckian fires in a low shot from the 20m line, which bounces just wide of the left post. The ball whizzes by Fox, who is standing on the edge of the small parallelogram. Mullin is one of three Kilmacud players standing on the goal-line, along with Theo Clancy and Cillian O’Shea, as the ball goes wide. Both Fox and Mullin start jogging out the field with the rest of the players to prepare for the kickout.

63:47 – Having seemingly been made aware that Crokes have too many players on the field, O’Mahoney holds his right hand aloft and delays Ferris from taking the kickout as he orders Mullin off the field. Mullin, by that stage between the 45m and 65m lines, starts making his way over towards the sideline. Using the TG4 timeline, Mullin was on the field erroneously for 38 seconds – though there would have been a few seconds either side of when the camera focused on him going off and Casey going on.

63:58 – The referee watches Mullin make his way to the sideline before taking down his hand. He then blows the whistle for the kickout to proceed.

64:05 – The final whistle is blown.

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning

Gordon Manning is a sports journalist, specialising in Gaelic games, with The Irish Times