OPINION: Dublin don't deserve a replay after wide controversy

Dublin's footballers are the latest in a long line to suffer a sporting injustice

BY Daniel Kelly 10:28 Monday 26 September 2016, 10:28 26 Sep 2016

Dublin team huddle Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

"To err is human" - Alexander Pope (1688–1744)

When the LGFA decided that the costs were too prohibitive to use the HawkEye system in Croke Park, they left themselves vulnerable to what happened in Sunday's All-Ireland Final. Cork defeated Dublin by a point to win their sixth final in a row, and their third in succession against Dublin.

A penalty with the last kick of the game from Dublin's Sinead Aherne, meant the game finished 1-07 to 1-06, but an apparent point from Carla Rowe was deemed wide in the first half. If that point was given the scores would have been level.

Speaking to the Irish Examiner before the 2015 final, LGFA President Marie Hickey said the costs of altering the system for Ladies Football was prohibitive. A size 4 football is used, compared to a size 5 in the men's game meaning the readings would not be accurate.

"At the time, when we looked at it, we realised that there had to be a recalibration for the size of our ball and that would actually have taken longer than the time-frame that we had. There’s a cost factor as well, obviously, so we’ll look at it again next year." 

We know now where that got them.

As the LGFA decided to base scores solely on what umpires see, why should that change over one incident? Albeit the incident took place on the sport's biggest stage. What differs a point "scored" in an All-Ireland Final to one scored in an Intermediate Championship game on front of a few hundred people?

After Sunday's loss, Dublin manager Greg McGonigle spoke to Newstalk's Oisin Langan and was quick to compare the situation to one that may happen next weekend in the men's replay.

"The bug-bear for me is the people at the top of the ladies association talk about being serious about supporting serious football, but they're not serious about our athletes if we don't give (them the chance to use hawk-eye)"

"If that was to happen next Saturday evening and Bernard Brogan kicks a ball like that, then they will go to the guy upstairs. If the system is there then why not use it?"

Dublin's Sinead Goldrick dejected after the game. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

While many people will compare the situation to the Christy Ring Cup saga earlier this year, they are very different. A point was incorrectly added to Meath's score to give them a one-point win over Antrim. Afterwards, referee John O'Brien admitted he miscalculated the score. The game was replayed and Meath won once more.

Rowe's point was never given, despite it going over the bar. There was no miscalculation from the referee Brendan Rice. Rowe's shot was deemed wide.

Rule 520 in the Official Guide states; "Video evidence shall not be admissible to review the decision of a referee where the decision relates to the allowance or disallowance of a score, the award of a free or the playing time allowed."

The LGFA would be breaking their own rules, to give Dublin the replay. It's very harsh on Dublin, but that is sport. It's full of injustices, and McGonigle's team are the latest in a long line to suffer that fate.

This year the LGFA have asked for #SeriousSupport. Maybe they should look closer to home and offer that to the sport's stars on their biggest day in the calendar.

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