Wexford made moves to prevent Johnny Ryan officiating

The Wexford County Board officially queried the appointment of Johnny Ryan to referee last Saturday’s All-Ireland SHC qualifier with Offaly.

The Irish Examiner understands Wexford wrote to Croke Park last week highlighting Tipperary native Ryan was a Boherlahan- Dualla club-mate of Offaly coach and selector Conor Gleeson.

They also brought to Croke Park’s attention information one of Ryan’s regular umpires was a close friend of Gleeson’s.

Despite these concerns, the GAA informed Wexford they had provided no reason to remove Ryan from taking charge of the game.

Wexford won the first round backdoor match by eight points and will face Cork in Thurles next Saturday following yesterday morning’s second round qualifier draw.

Saturday’s victory in Innovate Wexford Park meant the first-half decision not to award Mark Fanning a goal from the penalty spot had no impact on the result.

Both Ryan and the umpires deemed Fanning’s shot had gone wide although replays indicated it had crossed the line, hitting the back stanchion of the posts and coming back onto the pitch.

Speaking on The Sunday Game, Irish Examiner columnist Anthony Daly said: “Just as well Wexford won it fairly easily. It’s hard to tell at first; I was in the middle of the field. The ball is travelling like a rocket and no-one seemed to really react, really. The officials are in good positions. It clearly hits the back stanchion and comes back out and it should be picked up. I’d also argue why do we need a back stanchion? We need a net there to hold onto the bloody ball.”

At the same stage last year, referee Paud O’Dwyer and his umpire Tommy Fitzharris’ decision to award Limerick’s Paul Browne a goal in their qualifier against Westmeath was questioned. Footage from one TV angle appeared to show the sliotar going wide of the post. However, an additional camera later showed the Carlow official and his assistant were correct to adjudge the strike as a goal.

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