Friday 20 October 2017

Comment: Hawk-Eye absence unacceptable for a national final but Dublin appeal won’t succeed

The Carla Rowe 'point' that wasn't is yet another negative we could do without

Carla Rowe of Dublin shoots for a point which was subsequently given as a wide. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Carla Rowe of Dublin shoots for a point which was subsequently given as a wide. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Cora Staunton

This morning's headlines should be about this wonderful Cork team, how they've won an 11th All-Ireland title in 12 seasons and about the record attendance present for yesterday's final at Croke Park.

Instead, we're talking about Dublin's point that wasn't and how not having Hawk-Eye in use is plainly ridiculous.

Cork players Doireann O'Sullivan, left, and goalscorer Rhona Ní Bhuachalla rejoice. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Cork players Doireann O'Sullivan, left, and goalscorer Rhona Ní Bhuachalla rejoice. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Read more: Explained: Here's why Hawkeye was not used in the Ladies football final

Look back over the last 18 months or so and we've had the camogie coin toss saga in 2015, the trials and tribulations of dual players and fixtures clashes and it becomes clear this is just another negative we don't need in women's sport.

It was headline news on TV and radio last night, again this morning, and will be hotly debated over the next few days.

It's just hugely disappointing and no matter what the margin of victory, be it one point or ten, it shouldn't be happening.

Dublin are exploring an appeal but it's difficult to see any grounds for success.

Would Cork have conceded that late penalty if they were only three points ahead at the time, and not four? I don't think so.

Read more: Cork reign on but Jackies in Eye of storm

When Carla Rowe's 'point' was not awarded, we still had the guts of 40 minutes of playing time remaining. There were so many different scenarios that could have unfolded during that time and the only way that Dublin could really appeal is if they were denied an equalising point with the last kick of the game.

The powers that be need to decide quickly what happens next. I know that the Cork club semi-finals are down for decision next weekend and Dublin's Foxrock-Cabinteely are due to play the first round of the Leinster championship.

So, we need clarity by today or tomorrow, at the very latest.

I just can't see a replay happening, though. Who's to say that Cork wouldn't have pushed on and got another score if they needed it?

Regardless, Hawk-Eye should have been in use, end of story. It's used for camogie and for a national final it's unacceptable that Ladies football didn't have it.

You'd have to say, too, that Dublin's Lyndsey Davey was the only player making any real fuss about it to the officials.

I wrote on Saturday that I felt Cork would edge this game, and I predicted that it wouldn't be a classic either and defences were definitely on top. I referenced the midfield sector and while Briege Corkery didn't have her best game, she still played quite well and Rena Buckley stole the show.

I also mentioned the loss of the retired Valerie Mulcahy for Cork and while it looked as though they didn't have anybody capable of standing up in attack, Doireann O'Sullivan hit three outrageous points.

Leaders

You think Cork are beaten and not as good as in previous years but leaders come to the fore when it's needed most.

For Dublin, Sinéad Aherne had a reasonable game in attack but Bríd Stack still marshalled her quite well.

It was a big call on Ephie Fitzgerald's part, because I didn't think Bríd would start on Dublin's danger player.

Elsewhere in the Cork defence, I felt Vera Foley won her duel with Rowe hands down.

At corner-back, Marie Ambrose endured a difficult first 20 minutes on Niamh McEvoy but she really got on top of the Dublin player, who was taken off with eight minutes remaining.

Early on, McEvoy got on quite a lot of ball but Ambrose had a commanding 40 minutes once she got to grips with her opponent.

I watched the final at home and I found it an horrendous experience. Watching the build-up, the parade, the national anthem - horrible.

And when you look at how close Dublin were to Cork, and we lost our semi-final by a point, you always wonder if it could have been our day.

It wasn't a great feeling and I'm just delighted the season is over now.

Still, you can't take anything away from this Cork team. They didn't have their best day, especially in the first half, but when they needed big players to stand up, they delivered.

I was texting a few people during half-time and I expected Rhona Ní Bhuachalla to come on. Lo and behold, she had the ball in the Dublin net within five minutes of the restart and Cork needed that, as their forward line wasn't functioning.

Dublin had their chances - 13 wides and a number of efforts that dropped short - and this is another one they let slip through their hands. But Cork got the scores when they needed them and are worthy champions again.

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