Hawk-Eye latest to turn on Limerick

Sooner or later Limerick hurling will stop breaking mirrors, walking under ladders or whatever superstition it is they seem to keep doing.

Hawk-Eye latest to turn on Limerick

How else could they legislate for being cursed by yet another act not of their own making?

Their past grievances were human-made: by way of a vote the seniors were demoted from Division 1 to the newly-formed Division 1B despite them having gained promotion while it was an oversight that saw an illegal Dublin player Paul Ryan play and score plenty against them in this year’s Division 1B final.

Although it initially appeared to be a technological issue, the injustice at the weekend that befell them was in fact, made by hand. Not that it makes their situation any better.

The county board last night confirmed they will appeal the drawn result after 60 minutes although it doesn’t appear to be one the camp itself has any interest in pursuing going by minor manager Brian Ryan’s magnanimous comments following their extra-time defeat.

How such a course of action fares will be keenly viewed. Precedent for a successful contest of the result is non-existent but that’s not to say Limerick aren’t entitled to some sort of gesture after the inaccuracy. The cost to their teenage hurlers merits one.

Last night, Hawk-Eye apologised to the GAA and its supporters but their statement was vague and it should have singled out Limerick as they dolled out the contrition.

At yesterday’s meeting with Hawk-Eye, the GAA demanded answers and they got them. After a weekend when Hawk-Eye technology made its debut in the Premier League, that company’s officials travelled over from England for the meeting demonstrated they were taking the matter seriously.

As they should - Sunday left the GAA with egg on their face. At May’s Hawk-Eye press briefing, national GAA officials manager Pat Doherty said: “The bottom line is Hawk-Eye will not allow an error to take place so players have to realise that. In other words, if the umpires have reason to call for Hawk-Eye then they’re going to get the correct decision.”

Yet as much as Hawk-Eye managing director Steve Carter insists a mistake like this won’t happen again how long will it take hurlers and supporters to believe in the “eye in the sky”? Trust has certainly been lost.

Hurling, as the quicker and smaller ball game, had always been the biggest test for Hawk-Eye. Ironically, as much as the Hawk-Eye team member had Gaelic football values entered for a hurling game on Sunday, it is hurling that is the only Gaelic sport mentioned on their official website.

Of course, Hawk-Eye is only in the first of a two-year trial period while it has already proven its usefulness such as correctly overruling two umpiring decisions in the Leinster SHC final, calling a wide against Galway in the first half and then a second-half point for Dublin.

However, Sunday was most definitely a blunder. Play was called back because Hawk-Eye had deemed the ball had gone wide despite the graphic of Barry Nash’s shot illustrating, as video replays did, that it had in fact flown between the posts.

At May’s event, the Association’s director of games development Pat Daly made comments about the high standard of umpiring, which now read as ironic following Sunday's events: “I think it’s worth mentioning as well that above 99% of umpiring decisions are the correct calls. That’s what we’ve seen in games and that’s a commendable figure.

“There is a fear and there is a danger of over-relying on technology but I think umpires will use common sense in this adjustment period.”

Common sense is exactly what Fergal Horgan’s umpires used. They didn’t need any assistance to realise Nash’s attempt at a point was a good one and yet they were wrongly overruled.

Whatever about money and having Specsavers on board as sponsors, the GAA have invested too much time and effort into Hawk-Eye just for one of their team to fail them and Limerick on Sunday.

It’ll rightly be given a second chance to redeem itself but Limerick’s minors don’t have that luxury.

Limerick don’t want to be victims but when they are forced against their will into that position time after time what else can they be?

The GAA were due an explanation and yesterday evening they got one. They received an apology too but what about Limerick? It was the least they deserve and they themselves know it.

* Email: john.fogarty@examiner.ie

Tyrone must also face facts

Tyrone’s stats sheet presented to journalists at their All-Ireland semi-final last week had all the hallmarks of Rafa Benitez’ infamous facts about Manchester United three years ago.

Former county star Philip Jordan tweeted it was “embarrassing“, “ill-advised”, “poorly presented” and made Tyrone “look a bit childish”.

Certainly, the decision to issue the statistics to the media was an unusual one. Given Mickey Harte’s excellent oratory skills, much of their arguments would have been better coming from his mouth than anywhere else.

Much of what was included on the sheet can’t be questioned either because it is true or the facilities aren’t available to contest the claims. Still, it does nothing to take away from Tyrone’s and Seán Cavanagh’s propensity to make rugby tackles. And that is a fact.

Negative effects of provincial break must be revisited

Excluding Kilkenny, just three provincial champion teams from seven have successfully negotiated the gap between July victories and All-Ireland semi-finals since 2008 when Munster and Leinster winners claimed back automatic last-four qualification — Tipp (2009, ’11) and Galway last year (2012).

The five-week break proved too much this season for Dublin and Limerick, as much as John Allen made more of an issue than Anthony Daly about their hiatus and its negative effect.

Of course, had they won their games nothing would be said but just like the Munster football champions every year each county must be wondering just how much of a reward it was to be left idle as their opponents build up momentum. It’s games teams want, especially winning ones. Not rest. The Munster and Leinster councils don’t have much wiggle room but when they sit down to plan fixtures next year they might try and help their best out.

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