A good job that there was a decisive score-line in Sunday's Mayo-Tipperary All-Ireland semi-final, as there was no technology to shed light on any controversies.
“The fog came in,” said Croke Park stadium director Peter McKenna and from the vantage point of the press box (seventh level of the Hogan Stand), it probably looked worse than it was at ground level. The Hawk-Eye cameras are level with the press box so they weren’t able to see the ball clearly enough to make a call on it so we decided that we wouldn’t use it.
“The TV cameras are at a lower level and aren’t affected by reflection off the fog in the way higher lights are so broadcast pictures always look better than the view from the press box.”
Questions about whether the score detection technology would have been able to confirm Brian Fox’s just-about goal for Tipperary can be answered in the negative.
“No, it doesn’t operate below the crossbar,” according to McKenna.
This will officially be the latest date in the year that Limerick and Waterford have played a championship match. The counties have contrasting memories of their winter experiences.
Limerick’s previous record was an All-Ireland semi-final on December 3rd, 1911 when the county gave Galway a comprehensive beating, 8-1 to 2-0 to reach the final against Kilkenny.
The desirability of promoting big matches was acknowledged in advance of the final by Central Council, according to minutes.
“The Council, recognising the importance of the contest, spared no expense in perfecting arrangements for the match advertising being carried out on a very extensive scale all over the country.”
Ironically, after all of this marketing the match had to be postponed because heavy rain at the venue in Cork and Limerick withdrew in a dispute over the re-match.
With their champions refusing to play, Munster Council nominated Tipperary to contest the final in Limerick's place. Kilkenny won by 3-3 to 2-1 when the 'substitute final' was played the following July.
This was part of Kilkenny’s first three-in-a-row sequence of All-Ireland victories and it took Limerick another seven seasons before winning their next championship.
Waterford’s previous late mark is the relatively early 1959 All-Ireland final replay against Kilkenny, played on October 4th. It was also the county’s last All-Ireland victory so they’ll be hoping that’s an omen.
Nash runs his course
"Now for golf," said Anthony Nash, signing off a short statement of his retirement on Sunday evening which possibly didn't get the recognition the Cork hurling goalkeeper deserved.
Aged 36, and for many years the understudy to Dónal Óg Cusack before his retirement, Nash did win four Munster titles and two All Stars, plus an All-Ireland at minor level, only that national senior medal eluded him, losing the 2013 All-Ireland reply to Clare, finishing that season as a nomination for player of the year such was his leading role in getting Cork so far.
He also scored 5-17 between league and championship, his knack of striking a penalty partly contributing to the change in the rule which limited such progress before the actual hitting of the ball.
The Cork county board did recognise Nash for his “years of dedication to Cork hurling” and a “player who was an influence on both sides of the pitch”. Nash is the first high profile retirement from the pandemic season, probably not the last.
Fergal Horgan’s appointment to take charge of his second All-Ireland final means that Tipperary have now provided as many men in the middle for the big day as neighbours and traditional rivals, Cork and Dublin. The three counties have now taken charge of 13 All-Ireland finals each.
One of the finalists is top of the pile, as Limerick have provided 24 All-Ireland referees, closely followed by Offaly with 22. There are 13 counties who have supplied referees for the biggest day of the year, most surprisingly maybe, Wicklow with three appointments - all Jimmy Hatton, who also did two football finals between 1963 and '70.
Of course should anything happen to Horgan on Sunday, Cork will move ahead, as Colm Lyons is the stand-by referee.