Limerick county chairman Oliver Mann says appeal is definitely happening

‘We’re objecting to the result of the game, at the end of the 60 minutes, and with that appealing to have the result rescinded’ – press officer Eamonn Phelan

The Hawk-Eye debacle has been explained as an ‘error in match-day set-up’.

The Hawk-Eye debacle has been explained as an ‘error in match-day set-up’.


Limerick intend taking their appeal against the result of Sunday’s All-Ireland minor hurling semi-final “one step at a time” – which may well be all the way to the Disputes Resolution Authority (DRA).

What is certain is that the official submission of that appeal will be with Croke Park sometime today – within the three-day deadline – with Limerick county chairman Oliver Mann last night declaring “it is definitely happening”.

In the meantime the players have been invited to resume training at the Gaelic Grounds this evening, suggesting that Limerick do intend on taking their appeal as far as possible.

For now, however, it’s over to the Central Competitions Control Commitee (CCCC), who must decide whether or not the Hawk-Eye score detection malfunction at the start of Sunday’s defeat to Galway offers any sort of proper grounds for appeal: while the GAA rulebook would suggest it doesn’t, Limerick feel strong enough about the issue to at least initiate the appeal process.

“We’re objecting to the result of the game, at the end of the 60 minutes, and with that appealing to have the result rescinded,” explained Limerick press officer Eamonn Phelan.

‘Very disappointed’
“It’s really for the players themselves, and their families. They were very disappointed about it. They objected to the referee at the time, knowing it was a point. But for now we’re just taking it one step at a time.”

In the meantime there are plans for the Limerick minor team to resume training this evening, pending the outcome of that appeal. They eventually lost to Galway in extra time, but the point of appeal will begin inside the opening minute of the game, when Limerick’s Barry Nash shot the first point, approved by both umpires, only for the Hawk-Eye system to incorrectly declare it a “miss” – even though the graphic on the big screen showed the arc of the ball going comfortably through the posts.

This has subsequently been explained an “error in match-day set-up” of the Hawk-Eye technology, and according to an explanation by the company, the problem being that “all of the settings were adjusted to cater for hurling, bar one value for the Hill 16 end posts, which was set for football”.

Limerick are refraining from commenting in any further detail on their appeal “until the full process has been determined”, but even if the CCCC reject their case, there is further recourse to both the Central Appeals Committe (CAC), and then the DRA – who are an external independent body of the GAA, and all their decisions are binding.

In the meantime any remaining hopes that Galway might offer a replay appear to have disappeared. Speaking to RTÉ yesterday evening, Galway county hurling secretary John Hynes made it quite clear that they would not be offering a replay, stating they won the game in extra time, by three points, and are now preparing their minor diligently for the All-Ireland minor final on September 8th, against Waterford. Hynes, however, did empathise with Limerick’s situation.

Backs up
This backs up the comments from Galway minor manager Mattie Murphy, on Monday, where he said, “the what-ifs . . . you can’t go down that road” adding that “we had our captain (Paul Killeen) put off with 10 or 12 minutes to go in last year’s semi-final and we subsequently got one of the cards rescinded. But it was no good to us and Tipperary went on to win the All-Ireland. Would we have won? I don’t know. Neither would anybody else”.

Back in April, the GAA went through practically every eventuality of Hawk-Eye, including what happens when any decision of the match referee is overruled by the decision of Hawk-Eye technology. These decisions are endorsed by the referee, and with that effectively become a decision of the match official, and thus the referee’s report, and so effectively making this a case of refereeing error.

The GAA rulebook also makes it clear that disputed scores are not valid grounds for challenging the results of matches. According to Rule 7.10 (n) of the Official Guide: “. . . however no Objection or Counter-Objection may be submitted on grounds that a referee had incorrectly allowed or failed to allow a score.” Crucially, this rule doesn’t specify how the referee came to act incorrectly, or in this case, the score detection malfunction.