What it comes down to is not which team feels more victimised. Each county will feel they suffered a raw deal from Brian Gavin. The question is who is justified to hold that opinion.
Clare have a far stronger case and I’ll go into details shortly. Actually, while Gavin mightn’t be the most popular man in Cork for blowing up 38 seconds after the minimum two minutes, he was right to call a halt to the game when he did.
To clarify the additional time rule, time can be added on for incidental or deliberate play, which holds up the game. Cork’s two line-balls in the two minutes signalled by fourth official James Owens on behalf of Gavin fell into the latter bracket.
The first line ball occurred at 70:03 minutes and Conor O’Sullivan placed the ball. Christopher Joyce then repositioned the sliotar and struck it on 70:36. That’s 33 seconds of a lapse. The second line ball was awarded at 71:29 but wasn’t taken until 71:58, a gap that amounted to 29 seconds.
Cork were clearly attempting to kill the clock and I had no issue with Gavin permitting the extra 38seconds.
Some might say Clare escaped with a draw but they were done a number of wrongs in yesterday’s final, starting with the decision by Gavin not to send off Shane O’Neill in the 15th minute.
He did so on the basis of his umpire’s account of what happened between the Cork defender and Darach Honan. Both were yellow carded in the end but O’Neill deserved to be sent to the line for a strike on the Clare forward’s head.
In the 20th minute, Anthony Nash took a 20-metre free that, by the time he struck it, was close to the 13m line. At the same time, Patrick Kelly had moved so far off the line that he was almost able to catch the ball before Nash took it.
Gavin spoke to the two goalkeepers when the penalty was given to Cork in the second half but it didn’t have much effect as both behaved as they did for the first placed ball.
In the 26th minute, David McInerney was clearly fouled by Conor Lehane when he was chopped but it went unnoticed and the Clare full-back was penalised for over-carrying.
Patrick Horgan fired over the free, just as he did in the 31st minute when Lorcan McLoughlin should have been punished for charging. Instead, he earned a free after Colin Ryan was adjudged to have fouled him. Had those two frees not been awarded, the scoreline might have looked a lot different.
One minute into the second half, Podge Collins was pushed in the back by Stephen McDonnell but there was no free given to Clare. In the 43rd minute, Gavin brought a Cork free forward 13 metres, one of a number of times he did so in the game. It wasn’t usual style but it also showed just how frustrated the Clare players had grown with his officiating.
The question is now who will be appointed for the replay? It’s between Owens and Johnny Ryan, who was a sideline official along with James McGrath yesterday.
In the minor final, Cathal McAllister did plenty to suggest he will be back on the 2014 senior Championship referees’ roster. He wouldn’t be known for giving a lot of frees but the 26, a high number for a minor game, he issued all looked to be correct decision. He also handed out three yellow cards and clearly has changed his style.
Finally Barry Kelly last week lost his wife Catherine after a short illness. My thoughts and prayers are with Barry, his three-year-old sons Manus and Theo and both families.
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