Footage seen by The Irish Examiner from the main stand in Cusack Park definitely proves Paul Browne found the corner of the net with his shot early in the second half, justifying the call made by the Carlow match officials.
Referee Paud O’Dwyer and umpire Tommy Fitzharris were heavily criticised by Dónal Óg Cusack on The Sunday Game as well as on social media.
O’Dwyer is delighted to be vindicated.
“We always knew,” said O’Dwyer. “He (Fitzharris) does deserve to be credited because he’s been slaughtered on social media. He’s been absolutely slaughtered and he’s pretty upset about it.”
O’Dwyer, who has looked at the pictures of the score from the other angle, added: “It’s nice to know what we already knew. We didn’t think anything of it until we sat down to watch The Sunday Game because the Westmeath goalie made a half-hearted attempt (to claim the ball had gone wide) but none of the Westmeath defenders said a word because it was obvious.”
On TV on Sunday, Cusack gave a damning assessment of the decision. “You’ve a referee looking at it, you’ve an umpire two yards away from it. A sliotar does travel fast but it’s inexcusable. There would want to be serious question marks asked over that decision.”
O’Dwyer and Fitzharris also came in for a barrage of criticism on Twitter and Facebook after it was deemed they had made a mess of adjudicating Browne’s shot.
However, the GAA’s national games administration and match officials manager Pat Doherty yesterday said the camera work shown on RTÉ wasn’t conclusive in proving the ball had gone wide.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner yesterday, GAA director of games administration and player welfare Feargal McGill warned of the perils of coming to conclusions without possessing all the facts.
“It just shows - and we have had this on several occasions with disputed points - that you cannot rely on TV cameras because of the angles that they’re taken from. We would just ask people to bear that in mind.
“When an umpire or a referee makes an absolute decision, they’re there on the spot in real time looking with their own two eyes at what happened and it’s very unfair sometimes for a TV angle to be used to slate them afterwards when in fact they 100% did the right thing.
“This (footage) of all things shows that the umpire was correct but it also shows the folly and the danger of people reacting on one piece of evidence rather than having all of the evidence.”
Meanwhile, McGill would not confirm or deny that the GAA have contacted RTÉ about Joe Brolly’s criticism of referee Padraig Hughes last Sunday.
However, he did say: “We converse from RTÉ from time to time about matters.
“There is an ongoing dialogue.”