"Of course we would have played it": Nigel Crawford says Meath would have agreed to a replay if the GAA called for it

The Royals won the 2010 Leinster Final via a controversial goal in the dying seconds of the game

"Of course we would have played it": Nigel Crawford says Meath would have agreed to a replay if the GAA called for it

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Louth were on the cusp of history when a last minute goal loosened their grip of a Leinster title and condemned them to the wilderness for a little longer.

A looping ball into the Davin Stand goalmouth resulted in the Louth net being disturbed and from there the anarchy unfolded.

Joe Sheridan bundled the ball into the net but the foul was clear. And yet referee Martin Sludden jogged in to give the nod to his umpire and award the goal. Louth hearts were broken and left disillusioned as midfielder Brian White can still recall. He told the Sunday Independent:

"It was just pure madness. Some of us sat on the pitch for a while, we were just numb, we didn't know what to do. When we got into the dressing room, no one could really speak to each other. And now everywhere I go and every team I train with, once they hear I'm from Louth they'll always go, 'Were you involved? You must've been sick that day'. The first thing they always mention is 2010."

The Louth faithful stormed the pitch. Some of the enraged fans got close enough to Sludden to remonstrate and communicate their fury to him and the head official was guided away from the scene via Garda escort.

In the days that followed, 'disgrace,' 'farce' and 'replay' were the words most commonly voiced by those in the GAA community who demanded justice for the aggrieved Louth side. Officials in the association however, maintained their silence.

And without their intervention, the Meath players suffered the cruel words of others. As the situation continued to fester, it became apparent that people wanted Meath to offer a replay. Nigel Crawford, who captained the Royals that day, says that that decision should never have been entrusted to the players. And he argues that had a replay been announced by the GAA, they would have complied with the directive.

"If the GAA had said, 'No, you're not playing the All-Ireland quarter-final, you have to play a replay'. Of course we would have played it. It's an absolute nonsense in an organisation as big and as professional as the GAA that because of one game and moral pressure, the players could dictate that there would be a replay."

"If the GAA came out that Sunday night and just released a statement drawing a line in the sand saying that's what it is then everyone would've just moved on and that would've been it, but instead they let it lie there. The Meath players got a lot of abuse over not offering the replay and we were being told that we weren't sporting."