Dublin may seek replay after All-Ireland final becomes a sore point

Cork triumph by the minimum but Dublin unhappy after score was flagged wide

The #ChangeTheRecord campaign worked a treat, with a crowd of 34,445 turning up at Croke Park, the highest attendance ever for the women’s football All-Ireland finals. And not even a day that produced four seasons of weather by half-time could deter them.

The record that remains unchanged, though, is Cork's remarkable domination of the women's game, their 1-07 to 1-06 victory over Dublin earning them their 11th senior All-Ireland title in 12 years, and their sixth in a row.

Player of the match Rena Buckley and her trusty colleague Briege Corkery collected the 17th All-Ireland-winning medals of their extraordinary careers, six in camogie, and now 11 in football.

It should, then, have been a day to celebrate, but instead the post-match focus was on the point that wasn’t.

Consolation

If

Sinead Aherne

hadn’t converted that last-minute consolation penalty for Dublin, which reduced the margin of defeat to a point, the chat would have been solely about the wonder that is this

Cork

team.

Instead, there was talk of an appeal and a replay, the sizeable bone of contention an umpire's first-half decision to signal a Carla Rowe effort wide, when replays showed it had clearly gone inside the left post.

Croke Park’s Hawk-Eye, in use for men’s games at the stadium since 2013, could have cleared it all up . . . if it wasn’t switched off for the day.

Why? Because the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, a separate entity to the GAA, decided not to use it, largely because of the cost. The women's game uses a smaller size four football, compared to the men's size five, so Croke Park's Hawk-Eye would have to be recalibrated.

That wouldn’t come cheap, so the association decided not to splash out. An additional factor was that Hawk-Eye is not available at stadiums other than Croke Park, the LGFA concluding that would result in a less-than-level playing field.

All of which added to Dublin manager Gregory McGonigle’s anger come full-time.

Technology

“We have one of the greatest stadiums in the world and the technology’s there. It might not be passed by the rules of congress, but it should have been – the girls train all year and give everything they have, and then this? We wait until something happens, then we put in a rule to stop it happening, instead of being pro-active.

“If Hawk-Eye’s there, use it. It’s an All-Ireland final.

“It was as clear as day that it was a point. We highlighted it to the referee at the time and he didn’t even go in and consult his umpires to see if they were 100 per cent sure. We contacted the PR guy at half-time and he just shrugged. We thought Hawk-Eye was being used, but he said he didn’t think it was.

“We preach all year about having equality and having standards. We expect the same as the men, but if that was a hurling game or a men’s football game, we’d be going to Hawk-Eye.

“The association have to answer to Dublin, to our players and to their families. They have let us all down.”

Referring to Lidl's sponsorship of the women's game, he said: "If you take down the posters of Sinead Goldrick and Briege Corkery and the other girls plastered around Ireland . . . if there was €1.5 million put into our association and if it costs €10,000 for HawkEye . . . you guys are the journalists.

San Diego

“Put it on the flipside, 45 to maybe 60 officials spent a week in San Diego in the earlier part of the year. What do you think would be more important?”

McGonigle said he would await the decision of the Dublin county board on whether or not an appeal for a replay would be lodged, and would then consult his players.

“This isn’t to take anything away from Cork. They are great champions. But their victory has been marred, through no fault of their own. They’ve created history, but this is taking away from it, which is wrong.

“There is no onus on them to offer a replay, they didn’t make the decision, they played the game.

“I don’t think it really has anything to do with them, it’s up to the association to look at it. If it can’t be rectified this year, then Hawk-Eye has to be part of our system from next year on.”

A little bit of recalibration, and all this would have been avoided.