Deegan in dock over advantage rule

Armagh’s Jamie Clarke has cleared Paul Grimley of all responsibility for Sunday’s defeat by Cavan, but questioned referee Maurice Deegan’s decision not to allow him advantage in scoring his second-half disallowed goal.

Despite Grimley holding his hand up for the loss, the Crossmaglen forward admitted the players were to blame for the Ulster quarter-final result. While making no excuses for Armagh’s below-par performance, Clarke also expressed his disappointment Deegan didn’t provide him with the leeway that saw him find the Cavan net only for it not to count.

The 23-year-old stressed the decision had no impact on the final result but he was frustrated not to have been given the opportunity to score the goal. As per the rule, once the Laois match official had blow the whistle for a free-in to Armagh he couldn’t permit play to continue.

“I didn’t hear the whistle but obviously he did blow,” said Clarke. “But the same thing happened to me in the first half as well when I had got around the player, it appeared he held my jersey and Maurice blew the whistle.

“I was gone at that stage and why he was blowing up I don’t know because the advantage was with me.

“There was another incident in the game when Aaron Kernan kicked a shot and the ball went wide despite his jersey being pulled. Why was advantage given then?”

Clarke said it wasn’t the first time Deegan elected not to give him advantage, suggesting there was a similar situation in Crossmaglen’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to St Brigid’s in February.

“It was close to goal, I had the man turned in my head and Maurice brought it back for the free,” he recalled.

He can understand why Deegan blew for a free but insisted he never felt his jersey being tugged.

“It wasn’t exactly as if he pulled me to the ground. My jersey was pulled but it wasn’t going to affect me. I didn’t notice it, to be honest.”

A proper advantage rule comes into operation from January 1 next year but referees chief Pat McEnaney highlighted on radio the day before the game in Cavan the importance of referees operating a “slow whistle” for advantage possibilities.

“That’s all he needed to do — wait and see how it developed,” shrugged Clarke. “You just wait and see what comes of it. Referees are doing it all the time. They wait until the shot is away and then decide if they want to do something about it.”

Meanwhile, Joe Brolly laughed off Grimley’s threat of boycotting RTÉ on the back of the Derry pundit’s criticism of him.

Grimley claims Brolly overstepped the mark in his analysis of Armagh both before and after the game in Breffni Park on The Sunday Game.

However, Brolly quipped on Twitter yesterday: “Apparently Paul Grimley is not going to talk to the National Broadcaster. Was it something [BBC’s] Mark Sidebottom said?”

Armagh Central Council and former captain Jarlath Burns attempted to take Brolly to task on the social networking site yesterday, saying: “Joe. I hope you regret what you said about a GAA volunteer. It was totally unacceptable.”

Brolly replied that “being a good GAA man and a bad manager are not incompatible”.

He later wrote: “I said he was a poor manager beforehand, illustrated the point with facts & stand over it. What’s the big deal?”

Grimley said yesterday: “Once some of these guys get on their soapboxes, they do not know where the line is. In another couple of weeks, it will be somebody else. People have said ‘say nothing, let it go’ but that would mean Brolly is getting a free run here.”


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