Replay is not the answer for Glen-Kilmacud mess of epic proportions 1 week ago

Replay is not the answer for Glen-Kilmacud mess of epic proportions

Watty Grahams Glen were given a get-out-of-jail-card and, as things stand, it looks like they're going to play it.

Over to you, members of the CCCC.

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Glen are well-entitled to play it, it's their card to play, but whatever way you look at it, whether you're in or out, neutral or biased, betting or hedging , it doesn't even matter anymore.

Because one thing we can all agree on is that this is one unholy mess right now. And the worst thing is that, only a short spin down the road, it could be about to get even messier.

The All-Ireland club football final will have gotten to the stage, if replayed, where it's beyond a joke. Simple as.

Some will say it became a joke the second Kilmacud Crokes defended that infamous 45 with 16 players on the pitch, 17 if you're counting Paul Mannion, and it would be very hard to disagree with that.

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But there are surely some things we can agree on.

One is that Kilmacud Crokes, in all their desperation, did not for one second throw Conor Casey onto that pitch in an attempt to cheat.

And that should be a given.

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Let's not forget that when teams do concede in these sorts of situations, many of them come out on the other side blaming the fact that they had too many bodies back.

Too many looking on, and not enough doing their jobs.

Why would Crokes take the risk of cheating, for whatever difference it would have made, when they were already odds-on to win in the first place?

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Two, in the midst of all the madness, is that when it comes to policing substitutions, the whole thing is a bit scant, very bare and frankly, wide open to interpretation.

This really comes to a head in the dying stages of a game, when tension and stakes and everything else is amplified.

Some will say it was Casey's own responsibility to get Mullin off the field but with the whistle blowing almost the second he made it into the box, in the dying seconds of an All-Ireland final, surely it's understandable that his defensive instincts kicked in. Regardless of that, it shouldn't be down to him.

David Gough appeared on Colm Parkinson's Smaller Fish GAA Show today to give his take, and he says that, from his perspective, when he's reffing a game, that responsibility is shared between himself and his linesman.

"The linesman controls the substitution," he said. "When the substitution is complete i.e the player comes off the field, the linesman will take down his flag and say to the referee substitution complete, and the game continues on," added Gough.

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But that right there is the problem.

It's all well and good saying it's on the officials to apply the rules but what are they supposed to do when the rules aren't there?

When it comes to subs, hard as it is to say it, we could learn from soccer.

Gough has given his own arrangement, conjured up due to what he calls a "fundamentally flawed" substitution procedure, and that's exactly why we are where we are.

Up shit creek without a paddle.

None-the-less, some are still blaming Kilmacud Crokes manager Robbie Brennan, but he didn't have a whistle in his mouth to order either the taking or re-taking of the 45.

The only person with a whistle in their mouth was Derek O'Mahony and, in blowing that whistle, it was he who made it clear to Danny Tallon that the 45 could be taken. And when he didn't ask for it to be re-taken, that should have been that.

He was also the one who gave a penalty to Shane Cunningham and Kilmacud, wrongly as it turned out, with the foul taking place outside the penalty box. Does this warrant investigation? No, because officials make mistakes, and that's sport.

Two wrongs don't make a right but something much more impactful happened in the 2007 club final when, after 54 minutes of the All-Ireland, Crossmaglen's John McEntee was shown a second yellow against Dr Crokes.

McEntee wasn't ordered off the field and finished the game. Crokes didn't object. And the result stood.

This could yet be the case here.

Kilmacud Crokes have lifted the trophy, and they have celebrated their win. Glen watched them lift the trophy, and their manager Malachy O'Rourke said afterwards that they'll "accept we got beat on the day."

This is an All-Ireland final we're talking about so it's understandable that, upon reflection, Glen have decided to appeal. It's the right thing to do, from their perspective, there's no doubt about that, but it shouldn't lead to a replay when, for this specific breach, the rule-book is too vague.

In the end, you'd have to imagine there will be no replay due the 'depending on the circumstances' clause in the rule - the circumstances being the officials being culpable, the speed at which it all transpired, the noise in the stadium - but it shouldn't have come to this.

It wasn't Kilmacud's fault that they had an extra player on the pitch. For that reason alone, this result should stand too.