Thursday 18 January 2018

Comment: Stop blaming no Hawkeye - Dublin deserved to lose after a wasteful performance

Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Hawkeye should have been in use for yesterday's Ladies football final - that much we can all agree on.

The Ladies Gaelic Football Association has already explained the reasons - flawed though they are - as to why the technology wasn't available during Cork's win over Dublin, which saw a first half score from the losers waved wide, when in fact it had gone between the posts.

Explained: Here's why Hawkeye was not used in the Ladies football final 

Replays showed that Carla Rowe's score was missed by the officiating team, although there was no Hawkeye to rectify the decision.

As it happened, the Rebelettes only won by a single point, giving Dublin a ready made excuse to explain why, for the third year in succession, they had failed to put away a Cork side who they had at their mercy for large spells.

Dubs boss Gregory McGonigle certainly seized on that narrative. Although Dublin have since said they won't seek a replay, their manager fixated on the absence of Hawkeye and the ruled out first half score in the aftermath.

Read more: Dublin won't look for a replay of Ladies football final despite 'wide' controversy

And many supporters and viewers seemed to take the view that the controversial moment was what cost the Dublin team an All-Ireland.

However, taking the stance that the wrongly disallowed point cost Dublin a replay or a win has a number of problems.

A Cork one point win plus Rowe's disallowed point doesn't automatically equal a draw.

Cork conceded a penalty in injury time, which trimmed their lead to the minimum as time almost expired. You can't say that the Rebelettes would have defended in the same fashion had their lead been just three points.

That is just one hypothetical but the truth of the game is that Dublin simply weren't good enough on the day and that just like last year, their accuracy in front of goal denied them glory.

Read more: Comment: Hawk-Eye absence unacceptable for a national final but Dublin appeal won’t succeed

Their wastefulness in the first half was staggering. McGonigle's charges kicked 13 wides to Cork's five overall, but tellingly, they kicked seven wides to one in the opening period when they completely outplayed Cork (six when you don't include Rowe's 'wide').

The Dubs launched attack after attack as they cleaned out their opponents all over the field. They moved the ball slickly at times, utilising both handpasses and long kicks to get in behind the Cork defence.

However, as soon as they ventured within 21m of goal, their composure deserted them, with the Dublin forwards kicking a string of poor wides - most of which were from very simple positions.

That meant they led by one point at the break instead of the four or five that their dominance deserved.

McGonigle admitted afterwards that 'possibly' his side's shooting had cost them.

That is a gross understatement.

In yesterday's game, not having Hawkeye available was a macro issue, not a micro one.

For the good of Ladies football, they should have the technology in place but one refereeing decision isn't what cost Dublin.

No doubt had Rowe's point been awarded they would have been even closer to victory but they cannot expect to finally slay Cork while exhibiting such wastefulness in front of goal.

The Hawkeye issue is hugely valid to the game as a whole, but McGonigle should be focusing on his side's attack, not obsessing over things outside his control.

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