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Referee fails to find a little bit extra

THE referee at the centre of this year's All-Ireland club final 'card' fiasco is in the eye of more controversy after failing to play extra-time in a high-profile Leinster club match.

Longford official Eugene Murtagh -- criticised after his howler in this year's final between Crossmaglen and Dr Crokes -- was again in the media spotlight last night after no extra-time was played in the Leinster SFC club clash between St Vincent's and Seneschalstown.

Confusion reigned in Parnell Park when Murtagh, who failed to send off Crossmaglen's John McEntee after showing him two yellow cards in this year's replayed club final, didn't play extra-time at the end of the drawn quarter-final between the Dublin and Meath champions.

Under rule, drawn provincial club matches must go to extra-time but Murtagh was apparently unaware of this when approached by officials from both clubs at full time.

Yet this is sure to cause embarrassment as, around the same time, another Leinster club football quarter-final between Moorefield and Dromard did go to extra-time after the scores were tied.

A refereeing official explained afterwards that Murtagh "wasn't certain" that extra-time should have been played.

St Vincent's and Seneschalstown must now replay in Navan next Sunday, but this looks like causing problems for the Dublin kingpins.

Manager of St Vincent's, Mickey Whelan, is away next weekend and revealed afterwards that he cannot change his plans, while Dublin sharpshooter Mossy Quinn broke from holidays in Florida to come home especially for the game and is due to return today.

Seneschalstown manager Damien Sheridan admitted he wasn't sure about the provision of extra-time but made enquiries to Murtagh afterwards.

When pressed on whether he would have preferred extra-time he said he wouldn't have. "We have a good record in replays," he joked, an obvious reference to his team's success in the Meath final replay.

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Leinster Council chairman Liam O'Neill said the provision of extra-time in these quarter-finals should have been on the fixture notice. "Extra-time for these games was brought in a few years ago. It should have been played," explained O'Neill.

Whether Murtagh will be asked to account for why he didn't play an additional 20 minutes remains to be seen, but GAA President Nickey Brennan was loud in his criticism over the club final replay seven months ago.

Back then, Brennan admitted that the embarrassing mistake "should not have happened", noting: "This was a big, big game. Personally I don't believe it affected the outcome, but that's not the issue, my view is irrelevant. Maybe the Crokes guys feel otherwise and if they do, they're entitled to feel that way."

"I wouldn't be happy with it, it wasn't satisfactory but we need to find out why it happened. It's disappointing that after an All-Ireland final, an incident like this has to be the main talking-point."


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