O’Rourke: Iconic goal wouldn’t happen now

It’s arguably the most iconic goal in Gaelic football history, certainly Meath’s, but Colm O’Rourke insists Kevin Foley would never have scored his four-in-a-row goal of 1991 in the modern game.

O’Rourke was centrally involved in the snaking passage of play at Croke Park 22 years ago which led to Foley breaking Dublin hearts with a crucial goal. The strike came close to the end of four epic Leinster championship clashes between the sides and drew the teams level.

Moments later, David Beggy shot the winning point to knock Dublin out.

O’Rourke is adamant that nearly a quarter of a century on, there is no chance of ever scoring a goal like that at such a crucial point in the game, claiming teams are far too cynical to allow it to occur.

“I think it would be fair to say that, yeah,” said O’Rourke. “But Dublin were always a very sporting team! And there’s no doubt that if it went the other way, and Dublin were building up, none of our fellas would have fouled them either. You can be quite sure that Mick Lyons would not have laid a hand on anybody coming in to score the winning goal!

“Seriously, not a second thought would be given to it now. You would even hear the instruction probably being shouted from the line in a lot of games, ‘foul him’.”

The two-time All-Ireland medallist and popular pundit said he’s behind the new black card sanction which will be introduced on January 1. However, he believes it still won’t be enough to stop teams making sure a move like Meath’s in 1991 isn’t allowed to occur again, particularly late on in games.

“I don’t think any fella is going to baulk at the threat of getting a black card if he saves a goal,” continued O’Rourke. “Because he’s going off and he’s being replaced by somebody. So the penalty may not be that severe. Certainly, I don’t think it would stop somebody fouling somebody close to goal near the end of a game where a team is hanging onto a lead. But I think it’s worth a try.”

As for the current Meath team which is enduring a patchy Division 3 Allianz League campaign, O’Rourke said he doesn’t fancy their chances in the Championship.

“Putting them maybe in the top 10 or 12 in the country is probably about the level they are at,” he said.


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