As a referee, there are games you look at and are so glad that you aren’t involved in. Mayo-Galway on Saturday night was as difficult a match to officiate as you can get.
It got very nasty towards the end and the amount of flashpoints both on and off the ball made it a damn tough evening for Joe McQuillan.
How anyone could expect somebody to keep proper tabs on it, I don’t know. Joe was a little bit hard on Galway early on, but the main talking points affected both counties.
For one, he booked the wrong men in Cillian O’Connor and Ian Burke when it was Antain Ó Laoi and Kevin McLoughlin who were wrestling on the ground.
Burke was later shown a black card, which ended up as a red because of that yellow.
Later, O’Connor avoided a yellow
when he and Declan Kyne were involved in an off-the-ball matter. He was perhaps lucky to avoid picking up a second yellow.
Joe did make a good call for the penalty as Chris Barrett did catch him, but then earlier Damien Comer could easily have been shown a black card for a trip.
He made three fouls in a short space of time and wasn’t shown anything.
As the teams left the field for half time, Fionn McDonagh and Seán Kelly were booked for an incident. Donie Vaughan was shown a yellow card for a sliding tackle and Gary O’Donnell’s booking was correct too.
The same for Peter Cooke when he pulled back, and a high tackle on Colm Boyle was also punished correctly.
Both Dalys ended up off the field at the end, Michael for a foot-trip, although John’s was off the ball. Again, it was a nightmare type of game for Joe, and what made matters worse towards the end was the foul-at-all-costs approach taken.
When a player in possession doesn’t release the ball, I believe there should be more of a sanction shown. It really leads to tricky situations, and the whole thing becomes so messy.
Like Maurice Deegan last week, Joe incorrectly chose to bring forward a free when it is only permissible as the ball is in play.
Kevin Walsh had a go at some of the decisions made by Joe, and this habit of blaming anyone but yourself seems to be more in fashion with managers than ever before.
I could understand some of Kieran McGeeney’s frustrations the week before, even though Maurice Deegan wasn’t as bad as Armagh people made him out to be on social media. But what I can’t entertain is managers using referees to cover themselves.
Barry Cassidy’s time in Clones wasn’t half as eventful as Joe’s. He can be satisfied with his evening and will feature in the Super 8s, although his issuing of a black card means Peter Harte faces a night or two in Dublin before Tyrone’s first Super 8 game against Roscommon on Saturday.
When you look at it again, it is on the harsh side, but he did give enough cause to warrant the black. Tyrone are contesting the cumulative one-match ban imposed for three black cards, but they will likely have more joy in questioning the one against Longford than the one this past weekend or the other picked up against Donegal.
Yesterday, Derek O’Mahoney took charge of the Meath-Clare game in Portlaoise and also gave a good display.
The yellow card for a high foul by Jamie Malone was right, but he could have been harder on Kevin Harnett for an off-the-ball foul on James Conlon.
He showed a yellow, but it probably merited a black.
Gordon Kelly was right to be shown a black for pulling down Cillian O’Sullivan, as was Meath’s Bryan McMahon later on, and Graham Reilly’s yellow card.
Derek tried to keep the game flowing as best he could while keeping control, but as the season develops the balancing act is getting finer.