John Bannon: Display may yield All-Ireland final for James Owens

James Owens improved his chances of refereeing his first senior All-Ireland hurling final with an impressive handling of the Galway-Cork All-Ireland quarter-final yesterday.

John Bannon: Display may yield All-Ireland final for James Owens

The fare itself lack the usual intensity you would associate with a game of this importance. James correctly showed two yellow cards to Damien Cahalane in the eighth and 50th minutes. He also got it right with an over-carry whistle for Aidan Harte, punishing Cyril Donnellan’s 24th minute hit on Aidan Walsh and Bill Cooper’s yellow card when the Cork player’s shoulder connected with David Burke’s collarbone.

In the opening quarter-final, Johnny Ryan was right to yellow card Austin Gleeson in the 63rd minute but he was extremely fortunate to not be sent off for a second offence when he pulled down David O’Callaghan as he was moving in for a goal attempt.

Liam Rushe can have no excuses about his red card in the 72nd minute but Maurice Shanahan was guilty of some unsporting play just before it. Dublin goalkeeper Gary Maguire was unfortunate to have a ‘65’ awarded against him in the 28th minute by an umpire when the ball didn’t cross the end-line. He also wasn’t allowed to take a quick puck-out in the 66th minute. Referees differ even with themselves on when and how quickly goalkeepers can restart play.

On Saturday, Padraig Hughes was correct with his black card calls on Fermanagh’s Marty O’Brien and Ryan McCluskey. The most contentious decision in the game was Padraig refusing to award Fermanagh a penalty in the 42nd minute when Ruairi Corrigan was touched in the back by David Lynch. He was possibly influenced by his big penalty call in the drawn Munster final. However, Corrigan had taken seven or eight steps before he was fouled.

In Thurles, Marty Duffy had his first championship game of the season on Saturday and was impressive. He was right with calls like yellow for Kildare defender Emmet Bolton after his foul 12 seconds in as well as his black card later in the game. He was spot on with an overcarry decision against Paul Cribbin in the 21st minute as well as the black card for Eoghan O’Flaherty and the red card for Kevin O’Driscoll for kicking out.

He made an excellent spot in the 59th minute in noticing Ciarán Fitzpatrick hadn’t punched the ball on the ground in the penalty area. TV replays showed Kildare were unlucky not to earn a penalty in the 46th minute when Michael Shields accidentally tripped Padraig Fogarty.

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