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Antrim County Final Descends Into Farce In Eleven-Minutes Of Injury Time

Antrim County Final Descends Into Farce In Eleven-Minutes Of Injury Time

Had Eamon McAuley been refereeing this year's All-Ireland football final, Sam Maguire could well have made its long-awaited return to Mayo.

The scenes subsequent to Dean Rock's match-winning free for Dublin ignited weeks (literal weeks!) of discussion and argument on the nature of 'cheating' within the GAA.

With their narrow lead secure and scant time remaining, Dublin started hauling down Mayo bodies.

While few, if any, doubt that their opponents would have done likewise, referee Joe McQuillan chose the path of least resistance and didn't act at all.

After initially allotting two minutes of additional time in Sunday's Antrim county final, Eamon McAuley ended up allowing for a further 11 minutes of play.

Why? Well, Declan Bogue described the scene on this week's We Are Ulster GAA podcast:

It was just like the All-Ireland final all over again.

There was a final point by Declan Lynch and I think [Lamh Dhearg] did a Dublin on it ... all the players started grabbing their immediate opponents to stop any kind of a kick-out from being taken - all the usual shite that accompanies the end of games now.

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As the match between Lamh Dhearg and St. John's descended into farce, McAuley spent those 11 minutes dishing out three red cards, two black cards and two yellows.

According to Cahair O'Kane who was reporting on the final, it was 'one of the more extraordinary incidents you might ever see on a football field.' 

Yet, amidst all of this, caught in the detail of this frantic finish was an astonishing story of two brothers.

Sparking at least one of the red cards, Lamh Dhearg's Domhnall Nugent spotted an opportunity to kill time. Kicking away the St. John's goalkeepers' kicking tee, the goalkeeper just happened to be his brother Padraig.

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While he may not have been happy with his goalkeeper's reaction, the St. John's manager refused to condemn the scurrilous actions of their opponents:

If you're one or two points up in injury-time, you do what you have to to see the game out, whether it's pulling me to the ground of kicking balls away or tees away.

That's part and parcel of it.

While one half of the Nugent family will be happier than the other after Sunday's result, the provoked party in this incident assured us all was well.

See Also: Pat Gilroy: 'I Wouldn't Say I'm A Hurling Man Or A Football Man, I'm A GAA Man'

Arthur James O'Dea

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