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Cavanagh Felt Derry Were Hard Done By With Refereeing Calls In Kerry Defeat

Cavanagh Felt Derry Were Hard Done By With Refereeing Calls In Kerry Defeat
By Eoin Harrington Updated
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For a second year in a row, it was All-Ireland semi-final heartbreak for Derry on Sunday.

Having claimed a second successive Ulster title earlier in the summer, Derry progressed through their round robin group unbeaten, before a nervy quarter-final victory against Cork set up a semi-final meeting with Kerry.

Despite being unbeaten hitherto in the 2023 championship, there were lingering question marks over Derry coming into Sunday's game,  especially against the might of the defending champions.

READ HERE: Tomás Ó Sé Has Big Questions Marks About Dublin Despite Monaghan Win

But, credit to the Ulster champions, they were within touching distance of an All-Ireland berth, as they fought valiantly to a narrow defeat to the Kingdom.

They would ultimately lose out 1-17 to 1-15, after a gripping contest at Croke Park.

The brilliance of Kerry's attacking game was contained well by Derry, but it was not enough - though Tyrone legend Sean Cavanagh thought Derry were unlucky with two refereeing calls late in the game.


READ HERE: Conor McManus Addresses Retirement Talk After Emotional Scenes Following Dublin Loss

Kerry v Derry: Cavanagh feels Ulstermen were hard done by

After a rip-roaring opening to the All-Ireland semi-final on Sunday, in which both teams scored goals within a minute of each other, the contest settled down somewhat into a more tactical affair.

Derry - as they have almost all summer - got their defensive game spot on, but they were met with an equally brilliant Kerry attack.


It was a game that came down to the finest of margins, and three-time All-Ireland winner Sean Cavanagh was unsure Derry had gotten the rub of the green with some of the refereeing in the second-half.

16 July 2023; David Clifford of Kerry reacts before he was shown the yellow card by referee Joe McQuillan during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Derry and Kerry at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

On RTÉ immediately after the final whistle, Cavanagh argued that Derry hadn't been helped by the decisions of Joe McQuillan. When Kerryman Colm Cooper contended that both sides had gotten the same treatment, Cavanagh retorted with two calls that he felt had helped to turn the tide towards the Kingdom late in the game:

Derry were chasing it a bit at that point (late on), but they weren't helped by a couple of big frees that Joe McQuillan gave that were very marginal calls. I would suggest they were very soft and that put (Kerry) two up.

There were two in around the 60th and 64th minute that just gave Kerry that little bit of breathing space...

It ultimately came down to Kerry's superior scoring ability, and Cavanagh noted as much by saying that the attacking deficiency was where the game was lost for Derry:

3/14 in scoring chances in the second half was never going to be enough to win it. In fairness they attacked the game like mad, particularly in the first half...

A facet of Derry's game has always been to nail goal chances. In the past whenever chances appeared they have nailed them. In All-Ireland semi-final against Kerry with a Tyrone man in there showing them how to set up defensively, they have got much better at that.

Kerry will now face Dublin in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park on July 30.

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