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There Were Hurling-Style Shenanigans Over Footballs At Carlow/Monaghan Tonight

There Were Hurling-Style Shenanigans Over Footballs At Carlow/Monaghan Tonight
By Gavin Cooney

The existential difference between hurling and football was most recently pointed out by Donal Óg Cusack, in relation to punditry on The Sunday Game. The thrust of his point is that hurling folk are more willing to celebrate their game, whereas football pundits are more eager to criticise.

Hurling has always placed itself above football, back to the days of Christy Ring, who said that "football is a game for those not good enough to play hurling".

Not that hurling is entirely beyond reproach, and occasionally lapses into crude gamesmanship, often in relation to the ball in use. There was the brief controversy of someone wearing a Clare tracksuit swiping Anthony Nash's sliotars and tossing them into the crowd ahead of the Muster final.

The use of sliotars made its way into Donal Óg's autobiography, as he recalled Cork's swapping of sliotars ahead of an Eoin Kelly penalty in a Munster final. The Cork sliotar (a Cummins brand) would take much of the sting out of Kelly's strike.

But if Donal Óg wanted football to mimic hurling more often, then tonight he got his wish, as a brief flicker of controversy erupted surrounding the changing of footballs at Netwatch Cullen Park tonight.

We're not entirely sure about the competitive benefits each side could gain from the use of specific footballs tonight, but they were enough to rile Conor McManus.

Here's how it went. Approaching the half-hour mark, Monaghan won a free, which Conor McManus stepped up to take. While waiting, linesman James Bermingham approached to tell McManus he must take the free with a different football.

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McManus briefly grabbed the original football back...

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...only for the linesman to swiftly grab it back.

McManus remonstrated further, seemingly pointing at the writing on the football:

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Sky's camera work then zoomed up on each football, and the odd thing is that they both seemed to belong to Monaghan:

In the end, McManus fell into line, and kicked with the football requested by the linesman. He missed.

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McManus was evidently unhappy about the balls being changed. An odd one. Perhaps our old friend the referee's report will give more clarity on the issue.

See Also: Liam Kearns Fires Back At Referee's "Diving" Accusations After Controversial Armagh Defeat

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