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Croke Park chief defends officials after score blunder

By Declan Bogue

Alan Milton, Head of Communications of the GAA, has answered the criticism the association has taken in the wake of the Hawkeye malfunction during Sunday's All-Ireland minor hurling semi-final between Limerick and Galway.

A shot from Limerick's Brian Nash was shown by television cameras to be a point, but was then over-ruled by the new technology.

However, while entering in the values for Hawkeye, the Croke Park system was set for the diameter of a football, not a hurling sliotar, therefore the ball was adjudged to have hit the post.

It cost Limerick the game as the fixture went to extra-time and while they are calling for a replay, Galway manager Mattie Murphy has admitted that the decision to grant one would be out of his hands.

However, Milton feels that the association has come in for too much criticism, given that the human error did not lie with a member of the GAA, rather it was a Hawkeye professional who entered the wrong values into the system.

"We had a situation when we were playing hurling, but they had added the values of a Gaelic football; the diameter of which is three or four times wider," explained Milton.

"Because the diameter was wider, it was deemed by the system to have touched the virtual post, whereas the sliotar would have been inside. A touch of the virtual post would not be given as a score."

He added that this kind of pressure was unknown to the GAA, adding: "When the Queen and the Chinese vice-President came here, they wanted to come to Croke Park because it has a special place in Irish life. So when we slip up, you hear about it disproportionately.

"It is the same with alcohol sponsorship. Our alcohol sponsorship was one of 15 or 16 sponsors, yet there was more scrutiny over this than any other alcohol sponsorship on the island."

He continued: "It's disproportionate, it's the same with attendances, the same when the Croke Park playing surface is in trouble, it is magnified.

"The flipside is that we get praised and positive publicity sometimes that is probably above and beyond what might be deemed appropriate."

Hawkeye bosses were called to Croke Park on Monday and issued a mea culpa statement late that same evening accepting responsibility.

The technology will be back in usage this Sunday for Tyrone's All-Ireland football semi-final against Mayo.

Belfast Telegraph


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