Thursday 22 February 2018

Diving demeans game and leaves sour taste

Aidan O'Shea of Mayo is fouled by Che Cullen of Fermanagh resulting in a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile
Aidan O'Shea of Mayo is fouled by Che Cullen of Fermanagh resulting in a penalty. Photo: Sportsfile
Eugene McGee

Eugene McGee

Comment - The most amazing thing about the penalty decision awarded in favour of Aidan O'Shea on Saturday was that the three officials in close proximity - the referee Joe McQuillan and his two umpires - must have agreed that thespot-kick was justified.

That was astonishing because any person who watched the game on television would have seen quite clearly that it was no penalty.

Usually in those situations a penalty controversy arises from a player in possession close to goals being fouled or not fouled, and that can often be a reasonable cause for debate.

In this instance, with only a few minutes left to play and Fermanagh very much in contention, this was not the case. Aidan O'Shea moved to win a long ball that had arrived a few yards away from him.

Knowing he could not reach it he decided to throw himself on the ground in an attempt to cod the referee. His opponent Che Cullen was behind O'Shea and made only a token effort at contacting him.

In no way was O'Shea, one of the strongest players in the game, impeded by Cullen. No penalty therefore. But the referee thought otherwise and Fermanagh's 2016 championship was over.

Diving is not very common in Gaelic like it is in soccer, but this was a blatant dive. O'Shea will no doubt claim the end justifies the means because Mayo won.

But it is offensive to most GAA people, demeans the game and this incident leaves a sour taste in the mouth.

Referees are culpable, as are players, but the overall result of what happened in Castlebar will upset a great number of neutrals - as well as Fermanagh people, especially Peter McGrath.

Irish Independent

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