It really is a privilege to have Championship games at the moment and after two fine games of hurling yesterday to see Cavan and Tipperary’s footballers end years of provincial hurt was a pleasure.
I’ll move to football shortly but one of the biggest talking points from the weekend was Liam Sheedy’s comments about Johnny Murphy following Saturday’s defeat to Galway.
A Limerick man being appointed to a game with a Limerick-born manager and coach involved with Limerick possibly waiting on the winners is not all that new. And I can say with a good bit of certainty that the presence of Shane O’Neill on the sideline for Galway meant little or nothing to Johnny.
Other than that, the major discussion from that quarter-final was the difference between careless use of the hurl and accidental. It’s a bit like the trip in hurling - if it’s deliberate, it’s a yellow card and if it’s not it’s just a free. Jake Morris’ first offence was careless and warranted a booking but his second was accidental.
As for Cathal Barrett, Johnny may have been convinced to book the Tipperary defender hearing the noise of his hurl off the Galway man but it was harmless enough. The second infringement was a yellow card and being on a yellow Cathal should have been careful anyway.
Johnny had a good game and seems to be getting more of a feel for the inter-county game. Ronan Maher’s yellow was a good call and he had not option but to give Adrian Tuohey a yellow late on when he rugby tackled Seamus Callanan - when the black card comes into hurling, and it will, players can only have themselves to blame for its introduction.
I had sympathy for him when he wrongly adjudged a Galway player to have caught the ball three times. Those things can happen but he also played advantage well four or five times and that added to the game.
In Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Paud also gave great advantage for the Aron Shanagher goal and it was a good spot for a late tackle by Conor Prunty. It was a certain yellow for Eibhear Quilligan for throwing the hurl and his calls to book Rory Hayes for a late tackle and Tadhg de Búrca were right so he can be very satisfied.
Yesterday in Cork, the disallowed goal for Liam Casey was a significant call and one that Maurice Deegan got right. There was a Tipperary man in the area when the ball was played so Maurice was accurate in ruling it out. Kevin Fahey’s yellow card was the right decision as it was more clumsy than malicious and he made a genuine attempt to play the ball.
Unfortunately for Barry Cassidy in the Ulster final, he didn’t have things so easy and it wasn’t an overly difficult game to referee. Killian Brady was hard done by with his black card despite the ball being well gone. Conor Madden’s black was borderline ridiculous and thankfully didn’t cost Cavan. The biggest mistake was not awarding Gearóid McKiernan a mark.
Cormac Costello’s red card for a comment he seemed to make to linesman Martin McNally was a flashpoint. You always give the player the benefit of the doubt when it comes to provocative language. “For f**k’s sake, ref” is forgiveable but when the remark is directed at you with venom it’s simply not acceptable. Derek O’Mahoney had another fine game. His yellow cards for the Smalls and Donal Keogan were spot on and there was a good call by one of his umpires for HawkEye when a Dublin shot went over the top of one of the posts.