Dublin lost today’s TG4 All Ireland SFC final in controversial circumstances as Cork for the third year in a row narrowly beat the girls in blue to once again lift the Brendan Martin Cup.
It was a tense tight low scoring affair throughout as both sides went toe to toe with neither taking a step backwards.
The controversy started in the first half when a legitimate point scored by Carla Rowe was scandalously waved wide by the umpires. How the officials were the only ones in the stadium that didn’t see it was a point is a mystery and at halftime on TG4, TV replays confirmed that Rowe’s effort clipped the inside of right hand upright and went over the bar.
Many will ask with hawk eye available in Croke Park why it wasn’t used. Well the simple reason is the LGFA decided that even though it was the day of their showpiece finals, they wouldn’t avail of it, giving some ridiculous excuse about fairness to all teams on all pitches, which is completely ludicrous as only two grounds in the whole country have the technology and it would have guaranteed fairness if used today.
At half-time Dublin led by a single point 0-04 to 0-03, but the lead should have been two. Cork had struggled in the first half with Dublin ferocious work rate and strong tackling which forced multiple turn overs of the ball.
One area though of the game Dublin will be disappointed in is their shooting, they hit some particularly poor ones today and should have been much further ahead at the break.
Sinead Aherne hit the first point of the second half to push Dublin two in front but that all changed moments later when Cork got through the sky blues defence far to easily and Rhona Ní Bhuachalla finished the ball low to the back of Dublin net and Cork had their noses in front.
Niamh McEvoy brought the sides level again in the 40th minute, but then Cork hit a purple patch in the game and hit four points on the bounce.
With the clock running down the second controversial talking point which many may have missed. Dublin broke up a Cork attack close to the own goal, broke upfield but had a free awarded against them deep in the opposition half. All the while a Cork player was being treated for an injury in the Dublin square.
The referee held up the play and ran the full length of the Croke Park pitch to the stricken player. No problem with that except the clock as per the rules was never stopped, it continued to tick away on the big screen.
It was at least a full three minutes before the ball came back into play and that time lost would have a major impact at the end.
Dublin went on the attack in the last minute and with thirty seconds left on the clock were awarded a penalty. Up stepped Sinead Aherne to blast the ball to the back of the net to leave the bare minimum between the teams, but seconds later the hooter sounded and Dublin were denied yet again by Cork.
Dublin gave it their all today, the halfback line of Sinead Finnegan, Sinead Goldrick and Niamh Collins was immense, Lauren Magee came of age in a virtuoso display in the middle of the park, Noelle led by example, Lyndsey Davey worked her socks off all game and Sinead Aherne was the best forward on display.
No team or their supporters mind losing to the better team, but that wasn’t the case today and there was a lot of anger from Dublin supporters leaving the Croke Park today who felt their team was robbed today because of poor officiating and it left a bad taste in the mouth.
Cork won’t care tonight but they have won a tarnished title. The LGFA have let Dublin down today and Dublin may put in an appeal to the association about the result if the avenue is open to them. Watch this space.
Dublin: C Trant; O Carey, D Murphy, L Caffrey; S Goldrick, S Finnegan, N Collins; L Magee, N McEvoy (0-1); M Lamb, N Healy (0-1), C Rowe; L Davey (0-1), S Aherne (1-3, 1-0 pen, 0-1f), N Owens.
Subs: S Woods for Owens (44), M Ní Scanaill for Caffrey (44), S Furlong for Lamb (50), O Leonard for McEvoy (52), L Collins for Murphy (53).
Cork: M O’Brien; M Ambrose, B Stack, R Phelan; S Kelly, D O’Reilly, V Foley; A Walsh, B Corkery; R Buckley, Á O’Sullivan, O Farmer (0-1); C O’Sullivan, D O’Sullivan (0-3, 1f), O Finn (0-3, 2f).
Subs: R Ní Bhuachalla (1-0) for Á O’Sullivan (h.t.), E Scally for Walsh (44).