In the fifth minute, an incorrect decision was made by Joe McQuillan to award Dublin a penalty. The foul on Paul Flynn took place outside the large rectangle and should have been a free-kick.
I strongly believe the GAA will have to change the rules to help referees on matters like this. TV replays should be allowed to help referees ascertain where the foul occurred. The final decision on whether a foul has taken place or not should always rest with the referee, but they should be assisted on the location of the foul.
On the basis of that call yesterday and the two penalties in last weekend’s Kerry- Tyrone game, I believe it has to be introduced, but not so that the tv official makes the ultimate call. I spoke to a number of referees and rule experts about those penalties in the first All-Ireland semi-final and despite the benefit of numerous replays opinion is still divided on whether they should have been awarded.
As for Mayo’s first penalty shout, had Philly McMahon committed the same tackle on Aidan O’Shea further out the field it would have been blown for a free. Technically, it was a foul and McMahon has his left hand around O’Shea’s body although O’Shea does slip and Joe can see that.
The penalty that Mayo were awarded appears to be for McMahon’s foul on Colm Boyle. McMahon faces a worrying time right now. If the Central Competitions Control Committee look at the DVD of the game, he could miss the replay as he does make forward movement with his head towards Aidan O’Shea in the 42nd minute. O’Shea did not lie down and exaggerate it like some others might have done.
Cian O’Sullivan was lucky a minute later to avoid a black card. He was instead yellow carded for a foul on Diarmuid O’Connor. O’Sullivan also pulled back O’Connor’s jersey in the 32nd minute but Joe McQuillan was right just to tick him for the infringement.
Mayo would have cause to be upset about two incidents in the 13th minute. Michael Darragh Macauley clearly over-carried in the build-up to a free that led to Bernard Brogan scoring from play.
However, TV replays from the Davin Stand show that the ball sails wide. Why the person in charge of Hawk-Eye didn’t intervene is a mystery. The umpires seemed to have no doubt about it, though.
In the 17th minute, Joe used the advantage rule correctly after Michael Fitzsimons fouled Diarmuid O’Connor, bringing the play black for a free. Jonny Cooper was also yellow-carded for a late tackle in the same play but it could so easily have been red.
Dublin will obviously complain about the number of frees awarded to Mayo in a central scoring area in the first half, but the only one I would have a gripe was the one given to Lee Keegan in the 21st minute when he fell to the ground in what looked like a dive. Joe brought the ball forward as Dublin tried to convince him Keegan had made the most of it. He did so again for another free in the 24th minute.
In the 38th minute, Aidan O’Shea got away scot-free with a throw ball in the lead-up to Diarmuid O’Connor’s point. At the other end, Kevin McManamon once again managed to hop the ball twice before scoring a point.
Macauley was unlucky to be black carded in the 50th minute as he had his hands on the ball while Keith Higgins had possession of it. Andy Moran took 10 steps in the 63rd minute before scoring.
The referee has to be praised for the amount of injury-time he played at the end — five minutes — although there was not much football played. That wasn’t his fault.
O’Shea threw another ball in the 71st minute, which again went unnoticed although Joe then made correct call in punishing McManamon for touching the ball on the ground.
After the McMahon incident and Diarmuid Connolly’s late red card for an entanglement with Lee Keegan — who saw yellow — the question is who will be eligible to play next Saturday.
On a general point, there was a fair amount of questioning of the referee’s decisions yesterday, as well as a lot of sledging. It can’t be stressed enough how much they have to be removed from our game.