James Horan: Referee told us there was at least 30 seconds left after the score
NOT for the first time this year, the issue of time-keeping came under scrutiny in a major game after Dublin's one-point defeat of Mayo in the All-Ireland football final.
In a game littered with second-half stoppages – some of them for accidental clashes – referee Joe McQuillan called for four minutes of injury-time to be added after the regulation 70 minutes.
But there was controversy about the amount of time he eventually added on, after a Cillian O'Connor free cut the deficit to the minimum with 74 minutes and six seconds on the clock.
Mayo said that the referee had told O'Connor that there would be another 30 seconds after his free, which is why he opted to kick a point rather than go for a goal.
But the referee blew the whistle on the next kick-out much to their frustration, though it did occur at 74 minutes and 34 seconds.
Mayo manager James Horan said: "When you ask the ref how long is left, when you ask him twice and he tells you there's at least 30 seconds left after the score, that's a little disappointing. But, look, that's neither here nor there. The game is over, we were beaten."
There was already controversy in this year's drawn hurling final when Clare bagged an equaliser against Cork 29 seconds after the allotted two minutes of injury-time was up, which earned the GAA a lucrative replay.
Injury-time is always the minimum amount of time to be added on and referees can increase it at their own discretion for subsequent stoppages.
Such confusion is less likely next year as the GAA are introducing a visible clock and hooter in both hurling and football championship games.
The referee will still have primary responsibility for time-keeping and will be responsible for deciding when to stop the clock for stoppages, but it will be a more transparent system which should lead to less confusion.