Considering how well David Gough performed in the drawn game, it was always going to be tough for Conor Lane to follow in his footsteps.
That being said, there was less pressure and talk about him coming into this one.
He had a nervy first half and it might sound like a small thing but I was surprised he arrived onto the field only 15 minutes before throw-in instead of the scheduled 5.34pm slot.
I don’t know what that was about but on the biggest day you do want things to run like clockwork.
The major talking point was the mistaken identity for the Kerry free in the first half. Con O’Callaghan should have been ticked instead of Mick Fitzsimons for the foul on Stephen O’Brien but the truth got lost in what followed after he awarded the free.
Conor did have a good deliberation with his umpires but he seemed to be put off a little by Brian Howard who directed him towards his assistants.
You just know by a player’s reaction when a referee gets something wrong and Fitzsimons’ body language screamed just that.
Conor had got it wrong and he then seemed to panic by signalling a black card only to then clarify it as a ticking by tapping the book.
Regardless of collaring the wrong player, the decision itself was correct as O’Callaghan’s foul on O’Brien wasn’t technically a black card.
For Eoin Murchan’s goal, there was a serious question about the number of steps that he took. David Moran did pull him back and advantage could have been signalled but it wasn’t. Instead, Murchan was allowed to overstep and kick for goal, which should have been disallowed.
There was also a Dublin point by Niall Scully later on that also shouldn’t have stood for over-carrying.
At the same time, Dublin were unlucky not to earn a free-in for a Tom O’Sullivan foul on O’Callaghan when O’Sullivan wasn’t even facing the ball.
That and the decision not to give a free to Ciarán Kilkenny — which was the right call as it was a hand-in, hand-out tackle — put the Dublin crowd on Conor’s back going into the break. It was an amazing stat that Dublin didn’t have one scoreable free opportunity.
There was a lot of confusion about O’Callaghan’s point in the first half when it seemed as if Conor was gesturing for a Kerry free out.
Instead, he was playing advantage but the problem was he got ahead of the play and pointed his hand in the wrong direction.
Even the scoreboard operators were reluctant to award the point before they eventually realised what had happened.
All the yellow cards Conor showed — Brian Ó Beaglaoich, Stephen O’Brien, Cormac Costello, David Clifford — were correct calls and he did look more assured in the second half.
He also played good advantage for O’Brien’s goal chance when the Kerry forward was fouled in the build-up.
Overall, it was a satisfactory performance for Conor but not as good as David’s and on review he will be disappointed with a couple of things he did.
It concluded a solid year for football officiating especially when it’s compared to hurling. The fact is football is a 31-county sport and therefore has a wider pool of match officials to pick from.
The investment and development of hurling refereeing has to be increased and widened when you’re looking at 13 counties at most to pick from.
Hopefully, by the time the Championship rolls around in 2020 there will be something done about the ridiculous number of pitch entries by maor foirnes.
It happens in both sports and was evident again on Saturday when Jason Sherlock and Tommy Griffin were on the field more than they should have been.
It’s not getting any easier doing the line or being the fourth official and managements have a lot to say in that.
In the future, there should only be two or three from each team being permitted there. It would be adequate but more importantly manageable.