Thursday 22 March 2018

It didn't start with Aidan O'Shea : 6 other times 'diving' was an issue in Gaelic football

Harry Clarke

For the second summer in a row, simulation has become a big talking point after a game in the Gaelic football championship.

While GAA fans like to believe that diving is confined to soccer, there have been instances over the last ten or so years when it has crept into Gaelic football too.

When Mayo were awarded a penalty in the dying minutes against Fermanagh in Castlebar last Saturday evening, it initially seemed to be a good decision. However replays showed that Mayo forward Aidan O'Shea fell to the ground after minimal to zero contact.

Here are six other times that players have been accused of diving in the Gaelic football championship.

2015 All-Ireland quarter-final

The reaction to O'Shea's antics has been strong - but nothing compared to the vitriol directed at Tyrone's Tiernan McCann for his play-acting in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final.

By collapsing to the ground clutching his face after having his hair ruffled, McCann got a Monaghan player sent off. Pundits and fans slated the young player, while the GAA initially sought to ban him.

Such was the explosion of comment after the McCann incident that you could have thought that it was the first case of diving in the GAA. However, since 2003 there have been a number of other incidents that attracted negative attention.

2003 All-Ireland final

The red card shown to Armagh's Diarmuid Marsden against Tyrone proved both crucial and controversial. The corner forward raised his hands when Philip Jordan ran out of defence, with the Tyrone defender subsequently being accused of hitting the deck too easily.

Referee Brian White consulted with his umpires and opted to send off Marsden, although Armagh manager Joe Kernan vehemently defended his player. Tyrone eventually beat 14-man Armagh by 0-12 to 0-9 to win their first All-Ireland title.

2004 Ulster semi-final

One year later and this time it was an Armagh player at the centre of a diving scandal. Pat Spillane branded Francie Bellew's theatrical flop as 'Shakespearean' following Pearse McKenna's alleged strike after just 37 seconds.

The Cavan man saw red on that occasion.

Tyrone v Westmeath, 2008 qualifiers

The reaction of Brian Dooher after a clash with Westmeath's Doran Harte came in for criticism after the latter received his marching orders in a qualifier eight years ago.

Despite the backlash, the Tyrone captain maintained that diving wasn't a problem in the GAA.

"It doesn't concern me," he told the Irish Independent at the time.

"I don't think it is creeping into the game. Things happen but I wouldn't be reading too much into it."

Laois v Down, 2008

Another qualifier in 2008 proved controversial, after Down's Dan Gordon was red carded for a robust challenge on Laois' Padraig Clancy. The Laois midfielder was strongly condemned for making the most out of the incident and Gordon's red card was subsequently rescinded.

2008 All-Ireland semi-final

It appears that 2008 was the annus horribilis for diving in Gaelic football. Kerry and Cork clashed at the penultimate stage eight years ago and a tussle between Aidan O'Mahony and Donncha O'Connor became a huge talking point.

O'Connor lightly tapped O'Mahony on the cheek, and after a few seconds the Kerry defender fell to the turf in a very exaggerated fashion.

Referee Joe McQuillan, who awarded Mayo the penalty last Saturday, produced a red card despite the angry protestations of O'Connor.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport