In what world would Conor McHugh want to be lying on the ground with winner in his sights? 3 years ago

In what world would Conor McHugh want to be lying on the ground with winner in his sights?

Declan O'Mahony wouldn't let Conor McHugh go for 15 full seconds. 15 full seconds.

Nerveless goalkeeper Darragh Gogan had just slotted the leveller for Ballyboden St Enda's from a 45. It wasn't over yet though.


This Dublin SFC quarter final had more swings and roundabouts than the Kilkenny ring road, and Na Fianna were tearing after one last twist.

They wanted to go out and win it.

Eoin Murchan got the ball out and Jonny Cooper took it from there. The break was on and suddenly there was green grass. Boden bodies belted back but they were tired and there was danger.

Conor McHugh sensed the vulnerability. He smelled an opportunity. That man had the shooting boots well and truly on in Donnycarney that night, and his dander was up high in the sky.


Six to his name already. Give him one more and you'd better be ready to chalk down a seventh.

All he wanted was a chance. That would have put Na Fianna into the semi-final. That's enough,

His eyes were on the danger zone. He put the head down and got ready to run. Surely when James Doran got hands on the ball, all he could think of was the Na Fianna number 14. The flame haired assassin.


But Declan O'Mahony was having none of it. He was nipping it in the bud.

And like a ragged farmer trying to catch a buck-mad sheep in a wide open field, the Ballyboden midfielder pulled and he dragged. He wrestled and grappled. He pinned down and jumped on top of.

McHugh tried his best to break free. But there was no way out.

If you wanted a clean cut example of cynicism in sport, this was it right here in front of your eyes. The ball wasn't even remotely close to his train of thought. This was win at all costs kind of stuff. Nothing else matters.


It all started in and around 64.44 when Na Fianna were on the run.

Finally, he knocked him down to the ground.


And even as a Ballyboden defender won the ball that was miles away at this stage, O'Mahony didn't even give it a second thought. He was focused on the job at hand as the clock ticked toward 65.

Listen, let's not kid ourselves either. 'Whatever it takes' is the foundation for team-talks from Derry to Cork. It's the most commonly uttered line of the lot in dressing rooms all over the country.

If you're a teammate or a mentor of O'Mahony's, you're giving him a pat on the back.

It's the ugly side of it, but it is the reality too.

You would just hope that players would trust themselves to get the job done within the rules. O'Mahony could easily have done that too.

But this whole situation was about to get even worse. In referee Barry Tiernan's defence, his efforts to keep up with the play meant he didn't have a clear view of what was going on in the middle.

He was going to have to go off the allibis of his linesmen. They obviously hadn't the best sight of it either, and between them they took the easy, and most frustrating way out for players and spectators.

Two yellows. Both players culpable.

His second of the day meant Conor McHugh was red carded for doing absolutely nothing other than trying to win fairly and squarely.

This whole episode brought the 'two card cop-out' to light like never before. Something has to change.