Analysis: Why a TMO would have made a difference to eight crucial decisions in Croke Park 3 years ago

Analysis: Why a TMO would have made a difference to eight crucial decisions in Croke Park

Who would want to be a referee?

Well Aodhan, what do you think of that?

The GAA president slated the Sunday Game last week for its focus on Tyrone's so called' cynical' play this season, but Kevin McStay called the All-Ireland semi final between Mayo and Dublin 'unrefereeable.'

However it's not just Tyrone or Ulster now under the microscope of the RTE panel.

Looking back at key incidents on Sunday, Joe McQuillan could have been helped if he had the benefit of a TV replay, but he also failed to help himself by missing some basic foul play and his fellow officials also did not make his job any easier.

We've decided to take a look at some of the key moments in the game, and explain what impact a TV replay could have made to various decisions.

Rory O'Carroll's ten stitches

Only last night was the mystery of Rory O'Carroll's bloody face finally solved. The Dublin full-back didn't survive the opening skirmishes after taking a heavy gash to near his left eye.

He was subbed off after just three minutes and it seems that Cillian O'Connor was the man who inflicted the injury on the number three


O'Connor was unlikely to be ever red-carded that early in game but if it had been spotted by the referee – and especially with the significant amount of blood involved – it would have been almost impossible not to send the Mayo corner forward to the line.

O'Carroll has a hold of his jersey but O'Connor gets that in every game he plays.

He will need to be very careful next week.

What happened: O'Carroll blood-subbed after three minutes and did not reappear.

What should have happened: McQuillan should have consulted with umpire and linesmen and at least carded O'Connor. 

Would a TV replay have helped: Yes, but only the angle from behind the goal.

Dublin's penalty

The first major mistake of the afternoon was the penalty awarded to Dublin after just five minutes. Paul Flynn drives through the heart of the Mayo defence, but he is clearly fouled outside the area and then falls inside it.


And by clearly we mean after we watched two or three times via replay while McQuillan had just a few seconds to decide.

In real time it is an exceptionally tight call.


What happened: Penalty.

What should have happened: Free-in and black card for deliberate trip.

Would a TV replay have helped: Yes. In real time it is almost impossible to tell, but slowed down it's clearly not a penalty.

The point that never was, or was it?

Even with the best technology there are still what appear to be very obvious mistakes being made in games.

In real time, the shot from Bernard Brogan in the 13th minute looked very marginal as the ball appears to go behind the post. We immediately raised a question if it was in fact a score at all?

Even looking at where the ball drops behind the post it appears wide.


But the umpire goes for the flag, Rob Hennelly has no complaints and crucially whoever was manning Hawkeye never alerted Joe McQuillan either.
ppont 2

Speaking to a current hurling inter-county referee today, who has taken charge of games in Croke Park and used Hawkeye, it was confirmed to that whoever was in charge of the score technology can alert the referee if a shot at the posts is wide, or actually over, even if the referee does not call upon them.

For whatever reason no call was made to alert McQuillan of the validity, or not, of the score.

Perhaps we have been all fooled by the camera angle and it is indeed a point but in a game that ended in a draw, that controversial moment has taken on even more significance.

What happened: Dublin awarded a point.

What should have happened: Hawkeye should have told Joe McQuilllan ball was wide, and normal Mayo kick out.

Would TV replay have helped: Yes but human error more costly as umpires and Hawkeye official failed to alert referee to legitimacy of score.

The pull-back

Mayo fans had just seen Aidan O'Shea fouled in the square on thirty minutes and their team seemingly denied a penalty after McMahon's arm on his shoulder.

Then in the very next play Diarmuid O'Connor's jersey is tugged back as he steamed towards goal.

Mayo fans bayed for a black, or a yellow card, but McQuillan did neither to much confusion in the crowd and at home.


But no matter how much Mayo fans may feel that Dublin defender deserved a card of some colour the referee was right to merely tick the defender's name.

According to rules neither a yellow or black card are the sanction  for jersey-pulling. Instead it is a tickable offence.


O'Sullivan however did receive his yellow in the 43rd minute for yet another tackle on Diarmuid O'Connor.

What happened: Player should have been ticked

What did happen: Player ticked

Would TV replay have helped : No, referee made right decision.

Double hop McManamon

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 30/8/2015 Dublin vs Mayo Keith Higgins of Mayo with Kevin McManamon of Dublin Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

It's not the Dublin forwards first time getting away with fooling the officials as he did something similar in the league game with Mayo earlier this year


As well as doing the same against Cork according to Dublin fan site 'Reservoir Dubs'


He doesn't do it all the time, but he has done it in big games and this is his fourth infraction, and seemingly third this year. It was obvious at the time yet no official, or once again, any Mayo players, seem to protest.


What happened: Dublin increase lead by 1-8 to 0-9.

What should have happened: Free out to Mayo for fouling the ball.

Would TV replay have helped: Yes and no. Human error should be able to spot a basic foul of the ball. However, any doubt would have been proved by TV replay.

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 30/8/2015 Dublin vs Mayo Dublin's Diarmuid Connolly, James McCarthy and Philly McMahon clash with Aidan OÕShea of Mayo Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Philly McMahon/Aidan O'Shea 

Round 1

The Dublin county board will be anxiously awaiting news from Croke Park this week as Philly McMahon's trial by TV was carried out on the Sunday Game last night.

And unfortunately the corner-back may need a 'Matlock' inspired defence team to escape any possible ban under GAA guidelines.

The first incident, five minutes after half-time is by far the uglier of the two and if Joe McQuillan had dealt with the growing tension between them then, we may not have seen what developed 14 minutes later.


Even if it is minimal contact between both men, the rule states


What happended: Neither player sanctioned.

What should have happened: McMahon red carded for transgressing rule number one above.

Would TV replay have helped: Yes, as incident clearly caught on camera as referee dealing with other players.

Round 2

The second incident on 54 minutes sees the Dublin player crumple in a heap after contact from O'Shea.

McMahon may indeed have been injured or stunned by the blow but the contact seemed to be at the lower end of the scale.

Perhaps it would have been harsh to yellow card him after he received treatment, but as McQuillan took no action at all we can only surmise that he felt the Dublin corner back was faking.

If that is the case then he should have shown him a yellow card

mcmahon yello

What happened: No action against either player

What should have happened: McMahon booked for feigning injury.

Would TV replay have helped: Yes, as referee could judge if player was faking injury or not

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 30/8/2015 Dublin vs Mayo Mayo's Andy Moran celebrates scoring the equalising the point to force a replay Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Andy Moran's walk around Croke Park.

Dublin will feel today that they were hard done by and if Kevin McManamon and Bernard Brogan got a large slice of luck for two crucial scores, then Andy Moran also benefited.

The veteran took at least eight, if not 10, steps before hopping the ball to kick a score to make it 2-12 to 0-12

How no Dublin player, or the referee, who's just behind him didn't spot it is beyond belief.


What happened: Moran gets crucial Mayo score.

What should have happened: Free out for over-carrying. 

Would TV replay have helped: Yes, but  referee should have spotted it.

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final, Croke Park, Dublin 30/8/2015 Dublin vs Mayo Lee Keegan of Mayo and Diramuid Connolly of Dublin clash, Connolly was sent off following the incident Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Lee Keegan V Diarmuid Connolly

The Dublin-half-forward as of now looks set to miss out on next Saturday's replay after he was red carded in an incident in the dying moments of the game

The footage was less than clear in establishing what took place between the two men, but a Dublin fan got an almost perfect view of the incident.

Connolly was sent off for a strike on the ground while Keegan was yellow carded for his role in inciting the St Vincents man



What happened: Connolly sent off and Keegan yellow carded.

What should have happened: Connolly sent off and Keegan yellow for inciting or black carded for blocking run.

Would TV replay have helped: No, McQuillan made the right call

They are just some of the bigger incidents while we also could have looked at Johnny Cooper's studs into O'Connor's leg

Or MDMA's  incorrect black card...

Or Mayo's calls for a penalty after a foul on O'Shea or several instances of the Breaffy man not hand-passing correctly.

Ultimately the GAA need to decide if they want their games refereed to the highest possible standards.

The game has moved on to such a fast pace now that there must be serious consideration in either introducing a second referee or else introducing video technology.

It may not prevent the ugly scenes witnessed yesterday but it may also prove an incentive for players to know that whatever their transgression, they will be caught out.

It will be too late for 2015 but for the future of the GAA something needs to be done.