GAA

'Can You Imagine If It Happened On The Second Sunday In September? There’d Be Lynchings'

'Can You Imagine If It Happened On The Second Sunday In September? There’d Be Lynchings'

Antrim captain Conor Carson has described his annoyance at the scoreboard debacle during the Christy Ring cup final at Croke Park on Saturday but, unlike Meath selector Mickey McCullough, he doesn't think that the Meath players will have any problems motivating themselves for the replay that they will face on Saturday in Newry.

Before the match was confirmed to be played as soon as this weekend, Carson speculated that the GAA should allow "a few weeks" between the drawn game and replay, to allow both teams to adequately prepare, physically and mentally, for the encounter. But while he told us that he had heard of a certain initial reluctance from the Meath camp to engage in replaying the final after the 'original' concluded in such a farcical fashion, he was certain that any perceived indifference towards a replay from the Meathmen would be thoroughly eradicated once the battle came into view.

The Ruairi Óg, Cushendall man said that were he in his opponents' position he would "be very motivated", that the sight of "something getting taken off you" should be sufficient to raise a fighting spirit in the Leinstermen's chests.

The incident at the centre of the controversy - a scoreboard error in Croke Park which referee John O'Brien erroneously confirmed despite questioning from the Meath coaching staff - has been vigorously discussed up and down the country. But Carson strongly believes that, were the error to have occurred in the All-Ireland final, the response to it would have been much more severe. And he is bemused by the fact that the game ticked away from the time of the offending score until full-time with journalists, but not players or management, aware of the mistake.

Can you imagine if it happened on the second Sunday in September? There’d be public lynchings. Ludicrous.

It certainly doesn’t send a great message [about the Christy Ring's importance]. Everyone makes mistakes, [but] there was 5 or 6 minutes to have a look at it [before the game ended].

Interestingly, Carson says that he was probably more distressed with the nature of his side's performance than by any technical error. When asked why the Saffrons were so below-par throughout, he admits that the favourites "probably took our foot off the gas. We should have regrouped and kicked on...this year we haven't played full games (at our best pace)".

For now, at least, the uncertainty is over. The man set to lead the Ulster Champions out on Saturday, after a tumultuous season that has seen star forward Liam Watson drop off the panel (again) and a chaotic change of management mid-season, admitted that it was "all up in the air" before today's announcement, with players unsure about going out for a drink after the initial Croke Park game because they could "find themselves training" over the next couple of days.

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Conor Carson will step out on Pairc Esler's smooth turf on Saturday with a shot at redemption, a chance to banish Antrim's demons, for this season at least.

He'd certainly have taken that off you three days ago.

See Also: GAA President Speaks Regarding Disputed Christy Ring Cup Final Result

See Also: The Draw For The First Round Of The Football Qualifiers Has Been Made

 

Conall Cahill

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