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20 things that changed the course of the GAA championships


Lee Keegan is shown a red card during Mayo's clash with Kerry

Lee Keegan is shown a red card during Mayo's clash with Kerry


Patrick Maher, Tipperary, is taken down by Paul Murphy, Kilkenny, resulting in referee Barry Kelly awarding a penalty

Patrick Maher, Tipperary, is taken down by Paul Murphy, Kilkenny, resulting in referee Barry Kelly awarding a penalty



Lee Keegan is shown a red card during Mayo's clash with Kerry

Hawk-Eye's confirmation of what the umpires already knew - that John O'Dwyer's last-minute free had drifted wide of the Kilkenny posts last Sunday - will always be regarded as one of the most dramatic moments of this year's championships but whether it turns out to be a season-definer remains to be seen.

There were, of course, several other crucially important incidents during the hurling and football campaigns and, with two games to come, the list will be extended.

So, O'Dwyer's free apart, what were the incidents or events which changed the course of this year's championships? Here's a top ten in both codes.


1 Lee Keegan's dismissal v Kerry

Mayo were not only reduced to 14 players for 37 minutes of the drawn game, they lost one of their most consistent performers in Keegan. Mayo did well without him in the second half but how much more formidable would they have been with him?

2 No black card for Shane Enright

Kerry should have been a man down for three-quarters of the replay with Mayo but a blatant black-card offence by Enright (he was already on a yellow card) wasn't acted upon.

3 Dublin's goal misses v Donegal

Dublin scored a total of 20 goals in their previous eight championship and league games, but drew a blank against Donegal, despite having at least two excellent chances in the opening 25 minutes.

4 Kerry's win over Cork in the Munster final

If Kerry had lost they would almost certainly have faced Mayo, rather than Galway, in the All-Ireland quarter-final. That would have been a much different proposition.

5 Mattie Donnelly's dismissal against Armagh

Tyrone didn't really fire this year but might well have prolonged their summer if Mattie Donnelly hadn't been sent off in the first half of the qualifier clash with Armagh.

6 Andy Moran's influence against Roscommon

Mayo looked to be on their way to a first Connacht championship defeat since 2010 until Moran was introduced after 46 minutes. He stabilised things and Mayo won by a point, keeping them in line for a first provincial four-in-a-row since 1951.

7 Cork 2-18, Kerry 1-11 (April 6)

Kerry's biggest defeat by Cork since 1990 closed out their league action, leaving them in no doubt what was required for the championship. It may also have created a false impression for Cork as to their own strengths. All was revealed in the Munster final.

8 Donegal's win over Derry

This was always going to be one of the most important provincial first round ties. Since the game was in Celtic Park, it looked advantage Derry, but Donegal figured it out expertly, winning by three points and setting them on their way.

9 Aidan O'Shea's goal v Cork

Despite their collapse in the league semi-final against Dublin and in the Munster final against Kerry, Cork were in an excellent position to win the All-Ireland semi-final when drawing level with Mayo after 63 minutes, only to concede a goal to O'Shea.

10 Armagh's qualifier win over Roscommon

Armagh were outsiders but won comfortably, before taking their run all the way to the quarter-final and that close call against Donegal. It builds huge momentum for Armagh as they look ahead to 2015, even if they will be in Division 3.


1 Tipperary's defensive reshuffle against Galway

Six points down with 20 minutes remaining after conceding four goals, times were desperate for Tipperary. Re-locating James Barry to full-back and Padraic Maher to wing-back stopped the leaking and the attack did the rest.

2 Podge Collins' dismissal v Wexford

Clare were a man down for almost 40 minutes in the drawn qualifier clash. It's fair to assume that with a full quota of players they would have won.

3 Penalty rule changes

Tipperary might well be celebrating an All-Ireland win this week, if the rule hadn't been changed in mid-season. They got nothing from two penalties, albeit poorly-hit ones, last Sunday.

4 Kilkenny's second goal against Limerick

Whether it was Richie Power or Eoin Larkin who got the final touch is irrelevant, Kilkenny's second goal in the 46th minute of the semi-final restored the lead after a 16-minute barren spell.

5 Limerick misses in the Munster final

It was Limerick errors rather than opposition excellence that managed to keep Cork in contention in the first half of the Munster decider. The Rebels should have been well behind after 20 minutes, which could have changed the entire trend of the game.

6 Galway's late save against Laois

It might not have made any difference to the eventual destination of various titles, but if Eoin Reilly had goaled the last-minute free in the Leinster quarter-final, Laois would have pulled off one of the biggest championship upsets for decades.

7 Wexford's busy schedule

If Wexford were good enough to beat Clare and Waterford, Limerick should not hold any major fears for them. However, playing four games - two which went to extra-time - in 22 days clearly took its toll on Wexford, who didn't do themselves justice against Limerick.

8 Dublin's flop against Kilkenny

The big Leinster final defeat was so comprehensive that it left Dublin unable to pick themselves up for the All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Tipperary, who beat them equally decisively. Those two big setbacks were probably crucial to Anthony Daly's decision to leave.

9 The Kilkenny-Galway draw

Having led Galway by 10 points after 64 minutes, Kilkenny conceded three late goals and were eventually held to a draw, before winning the replay. If they lost the first game, Kilkenny's season might have taken a much less progressive turn. For a start, they would have had to play Tipperary in a qualifier in Thurles.

10 Swap finishers and we'll play you again

Tipperary led Cork by two points at half-time in the hurling semi-final but while they shot three points in the opening nine minutes of the second-half, Cork blasted three wides. That was followed by a Seamus Callanan goal. Game over.

Irish Independent