Tipperary have run out 3-23 to 2-22 winners in their Munster SHC semi-final against Clare this afternoon, but the result was not without controversy.
The two sides went tit for tat throughout the opening half, with neither able to open a lead of any real consequence.
Clare did hold a three-point advantage just after the interval, but a highly contentious refereeing decision would flip the game on its head.
The incident occurred only a couple of minutes into the second half after Clare lost the ball inside their own 45. Tipp's Jake Morris would pick up the loose ball out near the sideline, only to be taken down fairly cynically by Aidan McCarthy.
It was a clear foul, but nobody expected referee James Owens to send the player to sin-bin and award a penalty to Tipperary.
Jason Forde nets a penalty for @TipperaryGAA v @GaaClare in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/YA3WBlxBZN
— The GAA (@officialgaa) July 4, 2021
Under the rule brought in for the 2021 season, a referee can award a penalty and send a player to the sin-bin if they are deemed to commit a foul which denies a clear goalscoring opportunity.
However, it is difficult to see how the rule applied here. Not only was Morris out near the sideline when the foul took place, but there also seemed to be a number of Clare players in position to block his path to the goal.
Unsurprisingly, the decision was not well received.
Can't understand that call. #GAA
— John Fogarty (@JohnFogartyIrl) July 4, 2021
That is the greatest crock of shit I have ever seen!! It is not why the rule was brought in!!
— Shane Dowling (@dowlerznap) July 4, 2021
One of the worst refereeing decisions ever for that penalty. GUBU...#Clare #tippingpoint
— Joe Ó Muirċeartaiġ (@muirioch) July 4, 2021
Can’t believe the penalty award in the Clare Tipp match from almost the sideline. This will lead to madness the rest of the season #GAABEO
— Seán Mag Uidhir (@seanmaguidhir17) July 4, 2021
In all Tipperary would outscore Clare 2-4 to 0-2 while they were down to 14 men. Having led by three points when McCarthy was sent to the bin, they would trail by five when he returned.
They never recovered from deficit as Liam Sheedy's side ran out four-point winners. The fact that Clare were also denied a clear penalty in injury time also didn't help matters.
Neither Ger Canning or Michael Duignan could understand the decision in the RTÉ commentary box, an opinion that was shared in the studio after the game.
Speaking on The Sunday Game panel, former Clare star Anthony Daly said there is no way it should have been deemed as a goalscoring opportunity.
Where is the goalscoring chance from out there? I can't see that.
I think it had a huge effect on the game. 2-4 to 0-2 Tipp win that ten minutes by and the final outcome is four points.
It's silly from Aidan McCarthy, he did well initially but then dived in. Silly and definitely a yellow card, but goalscoring chance from there? Not for me...
Why doesn't [James Owens] take his time? He has given the free, and it is a definite free, so take your time. The linesman is there beside him and he could be saying 'I think this is a sin-bin and a penalty'.
The linesman would say 'will you stop James, it couldn't be that far out'...
I don't know what top level referee would interpret that as a goal chance. That's a referee playing god to my mind, it's all wrong.
It's difficult to argue with that assessment.
Jackie Tyrell held a similar opinion, saying that the application of this new rule was likely to cause major issues over the remainder of the championship.
Jackie Tyrrell is not happy with the sin-bin rule after today's incident.
Throw it in the river is his verdict....
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— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 4, 2021
There is way no Jake Morris is going to score a goal from out there. He had three defenders to beat and possibly Rory Hayes as well, that's four.
So every time there is four defenders between the goal and the attacker it's a goalscoring opportunity?
I know we're in our first couple of weekends, but I'd love to get this sin bin and throw it in the river because that was a disgrace.
That's a sin-bin on the sideline, but a ball into the edge of the square is not a sin-bin? It is ludicrous. James Owens should be held totally accountable for this...
We should be out here talking about the beauty of the game, not caught up in a controversial sin-bin. Unfortunately, this is going to be marred by that period...
I think it's crazy. How we can sit there and see that as a sin-bin, I would really worry. That grey area is going to crop up for the rest of the championship.
Hopefully we won't see many more controversial incidents such as this one, although we wouldn't hold out much hope on that front.