Sunday 21 October 2018

Explainer: Why Dublin didn't break any rules by using seven substitutes against Longford

Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton leaves the field injured
Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton leaves the field injured

Sean McGoldrick

All-Ireland champions Dublin used seven substitutes against Longford – one more than is permitted under GAA rules. However, due to a loophole in the GAA controversial 'blood rule', they broke no rules.

When goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton was replaced in the 22nd minute by Evan Comerford, it was announced as a 'temporary' substitution. Temporary substitutions are allowed in order to allow players to be treated if they have a blood wound.

Though there was no visible sign of Cluxton actually bleeding, once the referee deemed it as a 'temporary' substitution Dublin were then able to bring on their full compliment of six replacements regardless of whether Cluxton re-appeared again.

While most blood substitutions are temporary, there is no stipulation in the rule which states that a player has to resume playing after a specific period so the substitution remains 'temporary' for the entire match.

A similar incident occurred in last year's qualifying match between Sligo and Antrim. Sligo used seven substitutes – but one of them was a temporary substitution, though like Cluxton, he never reappeared.

The official substitutes Dublin used were Darren Daly, Jack McCaffrey, Kevin McMcManamon, Colm Basquel. Cian O'Sullivan and Paul Flynn.

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