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GAA chiefs can't afford to ignore calls for TV replays any longer

By Declan Bogue

Six years after the 2010 Leinster final, we return to a theme that really should have been sorted out by now. We all know the story.

Meath were trailing Louth in Croke Park before Joe Sheridan threw himself - and the ball - over the line to gain the decisive goal. It was an illegal move, but referee Martin Sludden ran to his umpires and instructed one to lift the green flag for a goal, rather than conduct a discussion.

Naturally, the sympathy lay with Louth. They had an expressive manager in Peter Fitzpatrick, are the smallest land mass of any county in Ireland and hadn't won their province since 1957. To this day, there is a popular theory that something was lost in the psyche of the Meath team.

That's why there is also a great deal of emotion felt towards Fermanagh, who were a point up against Mayo at the weekend when Aidan O'Shea decided he would throw himself to the ground with minimal contact applied.

It is also tempting for Tyrone to claim an injustice. Last year, Ciaran Whelan claimed that Tiernan McCann and the Red Hands owed the wider world an apology for his dive, but now his tone is more conciliatory, hoping that O'Shea is protected on social media, which is highly amusing.

Focusing on O'Shea, though, misses the point. The very top teams have known how to bend the rules for some time and have done so to their advantage.

O'Shea himself has been the victim of countless examples of gamesmanship, so he is a victim too.

What stings the most, however, is the refusal of referee Joe McQuillan to consult with his umpires. He made a judgment call when standing 50 metres away while he had two officials, who he uses regularly, on hand - but they were not asked their viewpoint.

Although the Fermanagh players protested, McQuillan indicated that O'Shea had received a phantom pull on his jersey. As Erne boss Pete McGrath said afterwards, this was simply not good enough for a group of players who have prepared diligently for months.

When it comes to installing television monitors for a touchline match official, one of the barriers the GAA cite is the cost.

In the 2015 season, the GAA pulled in €55.7m in revenue.

Excuses? There are no excuses.

Belfast Telegraph


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