Saturday 16 December 2017

The phantom 45, the hit on Peter Crowley and the other big talking points from Dublin-Kerry

Dublins Jonny Cooper and Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy tangle during the All Ireland Semi-Final in Croke Park.
Cormac Byrne

Cormac Byrne

Dublin's stunning second half fightback booked them a place in the All-Ireland final in what was an incident-packed encounter. Here are some of the talking points from the game that deserve further reflection.

1. The phantom 45

In a game of very small margins calls like this one can have huge ramifications. In the 46th minute of yesterday's match, Kevin McManamon was running along the endline and fisted for a point and it went wide. The Dublin star remonstrated with the umpire who had waved for a wide and referee David Gough overruled him. Was it the right call? Dean Rock slotted it to put the minimum between the sides.

Judge for yourself below:

2. Why did Kerry replace Paul Geaney with Marc Ó Sé?

On a day when Eamonn Fitzmaurice got most of his big calls right, this was a glaring error.

Geaney was brimming with confidence after kicking 1-4, while others struggled to find the target, and was replaced just as Dublin equalised.

Why replace your most potent attacker with a defender? The game was level and there to be won. Kerry did have plenty of territory in the final minutes but Geaney wasn't on the field to finish off any of their moves.

He was so surprised about the decision that the ref had to direct him off the field as Marc Ó Sé had entered,  and he had not left.

Paul Geaney of Kerry scores his side's second goal despite the attention of Stephen Cluxton of Dublin during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

3. Peter Crowley was smashed

It should have been a free. Bryan Sheehan would have kicked it to level up the game. The pendulum would have swung again.

This incident drew the ire of Kerry fans and resulted in David Gough getting some ugly treatment after the final whistle. Video footage suggests that he was unsighted by a Dublin player between him and the hit.

It was a blot on the referees performance which was top notch otherwise, in difficult circumstances.

4. Enforce the black card... it's in the rules

Abuse of match officials is an offence that comes under the black card rule. Enforce it.

Shane Enright, Kieran Donaghy and Philly McMahon all should have walked for it. It's probably the only aspect of the rule that people actually agree on.

Some of the roughhousing in the game was also very unseemly, as the image below demonstrates.

Dublins Johnny Cooper and Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy during the All Ireland Semi Final in Croke Park.

5. The GAA needs to ban the fans that targeted David Gough

The GAA has to launch an investigation into the conduct of a minority of fans at the end of the game.

There is no place for it in our games at any level but unfortunately it's not a rare occurrence.

The culprits should count themselves very lucky that no video footage has emerged of their shameful behaviour.

Referee David Gough let the hits go and did it as fairly as he could. Photo: Sportsfile

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