"He gouged my eye on the ground, Dave" - Remarkable new footage sheds light on All-Ireland final controversy 4 years ago

"He gouged my eye on the ground, Dave" - Remarkable new footage sheds light on All-Ireland final controversy

If ever proof were needed that Philly McMahon plays on the edge.

After a tremendous 2015 the Dublin corner-back would be a worthy winner of the Footballer of the Year award tonight, despite his season finishing under something of a dark cloud.

A new RTÉ documentary gives fascinating insight into the eye gouging incident between the Ballymun defender and Kerry captain Kieran Donaghy.

The Kingdom full-forward was a 5oth minute substitute in the final and in RTÉ One's All-Ireland Day, to be screened on Monday, we see that his introduction was a red rag to an already bulling McMahon.

The programme follows a number of different characters involved in the All-Ireland football final, including RTÉ commentator Darragh Maloney, members of the Artane Boys Band and Croke Park staff, but it is the microphone on match referee David Coldrick that provides the most compelling footage.

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 20/9/2015 Kerry vs Dublin Referee David Coldrick yellow cards Philly McMahon of Dublin Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Listening to Coldrick and his assistants we learn that McMahon was under observation early in the game, with the corner-back being singled out for his treatment of Colm Cooper: "Watch four for Dublin, all the time...Watch him, David!"

The Meath official has a quick word with the three-time All-Ireland winner: "Philly, come on. This is just a warning Philly, that's all."

After the break, as the conditions deteriorate and tempers fray, the introduction of Donaghy seems to up the ante. After one tussle in the Dublin square an umpire instructs Coldrick to book the Dublin defender.

"No4 persistent fouling, yellow card," says the umpire. "Look he is doing it in the middle of the field, off the field."

McMahon protests his innocence when Coldrick takes out his notebook: "It's always the back! It's always the back!"

To which Coldrick responds: "Why are you giving them an opportunity?"

"Donaghy is hitting me when I am trying to make a block," replies McMahon. "David, I swear to God I didn't do anything. I didn't do anything."

"You're holding him the whole time," says Coldrick, angering the Dublin man.

"I'm not holding him! Fuck sake!"

Coldrick tries to placate McMahon: "I'll watch Philly, but you were doing it there. You were doing it there"

GAA Football All Ireland Senior Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 20/9/2015 Kerry vs Dublin DublinÕs Rory O'Carroll and Philly McMahon tackle Kieran Donaghy of Kerry Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

Then, with Kerry desperately chasing the game, we get the major talking point. Donaghy ends up on the ground trying to gather a loose ball when McMahon makes contact with his eye. As soon as Coldrick blows his whistle for a throw ball the Kingdom captain is over to him, pointing at his eye.

"He gouged my eye on the ground, Dave."

"I didn't see that now, Kieran," says Coldrick, before McMahon arrives on the scene and confronts Donaghy.

"That was just two lads competing, that's all," he says.

"Lads, lads. It's okay. It's alright. It's alright, Philly," says Coldrick, just as his sideline assistant Derek Fahy asks him if he wants to allow on a sub to "settle it down".

Coldrick: "Yeah, let's go sub. Just relax lads, okay?"

In the aftermath of their defeat, Donaghy let the matter rest, saying "what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch" and Coldrick, refereeing his third final, seemed to defuse the situation there and then.

 

Other highlights from the referee microphone include Diarmuid Connolly's incredulous reaction to being booked for a collision with Cooper.

"I literally just slipped... That's not a yellow card, c'mon? C'mon outta that, it's my first fucking free," said Connolly. "There was nothing rough in that."

The smile on Peter Crowley's face after this exchange is priceless, as is Garda Aidan O'Mahony's attempt to evade his black card for pulling down Kevin McManoman.

"Aidan! Aidan! Aidan!" roars Coldrick before three sharp whistles. "Aidan!"

Once O'Mahony finally turns in his direction the referee shows him the black card: "That's a pull down, Aidan."

Who would be a ref?

All-Ireland Final Day airs Monday 9th November at 9.35pm on RTÉ One