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Six GAA Sagas That Ended In Replays Being Ordered

Six GAA Sagas That Ended In Replays Being Ordered
Eoin Harrington
By Eoin Harrington
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The GAA is once again mired in a replay saga this week, after the controversy which followed Kilmacud Crokes' All-Ireland football final win in Croke Park on Sunday evening.

The Stillorgan team had 16 players on the pitch during the closing moments of their dramatic win over the Glen from Derry, and ex-Derry player Joe Brolly is among those who has called for the GAA to order a replay of the club final.

Glen have now responded with a formal enquiry over how the surplus of Crokes players was allowed to happen, and a replay now seems the most likely option for the GAA.

It seemed a drastically unfair call in the first place to leave the decision up to the club who were on the end of a breach in the rules, especially given the GAA have precedent for calling replays or overturning results in the past. We've taken a look back at six other infamous GAA replay sagas.

Six infamous GAA replays

Clare v Offaly - 1998 All-Ireland senior hurling championship semi-final replay

The most infamous of replays in the GAA, and perhaps the most unjust against the team who would eventually lose out.

The 1998 All-Ireland semi-final saw a tight first game between Offaly and defending champions Clare finish in a draw, and the sides met in a replay at Croke Park two weeks later.

With five minutes to play in the replay in Dublin, it seemed as though Clare would be progressing to a second successive final, with Ger Loughnane's team three points up in the closing stages, before disaster struck.


Referee Jimmy Cooney inadvertently blew the final whistle five minutes early, leading to confused scenes on the pitch. Offaly were understandably furious, while Clare were uncertain as to whether they could celebrate reaching the final. As referee Cooney was escorted off the pitch, a huge swathe of Offaly fans invaded, and staged a "sit-in" protest - forcing an intermediate game between Kildare and Kerry to be postponed.

As the Clare and Offaly players shared a drink that evening, Loughnane came in to tell the Banner players to get to bed, as they would be training in the morning - the match was set to be replayed.


Offaly would go on to win the second replay in Thurles, and defeat Kilkenny in the final, while it would be 15 years before Clare would once again win the biggest game in hurling. 1998 for Clare remains one of the GAA's great "what if" moments, with their immensely talented team featuring Anthony Daly, Davy Fitzgerald and more, sportingly agreeing to a second replay, having been on the verge of a deserved semi-final win.

Carlow v Laois - 1995 Leinster senior football championship

1995 Leinster GAA

18 June 1995; Referee Noel Cooney is escorted off the field after Carlow were denied an equalising point during the Leinster Football Championship match between Carlow and Laois at O'Moore Park in Laois. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

An example here of an incident that the GAA's recent inclusion of Hawkeye could have prevented.

Carlow, managed by former Laois man Bobby Millar, looked set to force a draw in this Leinster senior quarter-final, as the seconds ticked away at O'Moore Park in Portlaoise. In the dying moments, a shot from Michael Turley of Laois was incorrectly awarded as a point by referee Noel Cooney, and the game was ended with Laois a point ahead - Cooney had to be escorted off the pitch by the Gardaí.

With The Sunday Game going on to prove that Turley's "point" had in fact gone wide, the protests from Carlow were understandably vociferous, and the GAA had a dilemma on their hands. Luckily for them, Laois took the decision out of their hands, offering a re-match to Carlow the following week.


And, luckily for Laois, that match would end in similar fashion, with a more decisive three-point victory coming the following week at the same venue.

Roscommon v Galway - 1989 Connacht minor football final

Shane Curran of Roscommon was a maverick character, and perhaps his most iconic moment came in the 1989 Connacht minor final, when his cheeky penalty caught Galway unawares and appeared to have won the day for the Rossies.


With Peadar Glennon standing over the ball, Curran came from nowhere and fired the ball past the Galway keeper, and Roscommon went on to win the final.



In a remarkable conclusion, however, it was determined after the final whistle that two Roscommon players had been inside the 20-metre line when the penalty was taken, and they were disqualified from the final, with the result overturned - even after Roscommon had completed a victory lap with the trophy.

After an appeal, the GAA granted Roscommon a replay the following week. This came after the Roscommon senior footballers had refused to play their Connacht final replay unless the minors were granted a re-match. Roscommon would win the replay by 2-11 to 0-15, but their seniors would not have the same luck, coming up short against Mayo in their replay.

You can read the full story of the 1989 Connacht minor final here.

Na Fianna v Sarsfields - 2001 Leinster senior club football quarter-final

Sarsfields Na Fianna

9 December 2001; Martin McIntyre, Sarsfields ia tackled by Na Fianna's Jason Sherlock. Na Fianna v Sarsfields, AIB Leinster Club championship Semi-Final, Re-play of the Replay, St. Cloneth's Park, Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Football. Picture credit; Brian Lawless / SPORTSFILE *EDI*

A lesser known one here, perhaps, but one which involved some big names.

Dublin's Na Fianna - a team which included the likes of Jason Sherlock and Dessie Farrell - were routine winners against Sarsfields in their 2001 Leinster quarter-final replay, with nine points to spare come the final whistle in Navan. The major issue, however, was that Na Fianna had made too many substitutions, and were lucky not to be disqualified from the competition as a whole.

The Leinster council were lenient, and allowed Na Fianna a second replay the following week. The Glasnevin side would win the re-replay with similar ease, and ultimately finished runners-up in that year's Leinster championship.

Laois v Armagh - 2016 All-Ireland senior football qualifiers

Laois Armagh

2 July 2016; Brendan Quigley of Laois in action against Aaron Findon of Armagh during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1A Refixture at O'Moore Park in Portlaoise, Co. Laois. Photo by Sportsfile

Another substitute-related mix-up, which led to this round 1 qualifier in 2016 being replayed.

After Laois came out on top by three points in the first fixture in Portlaoise, an investigation found that Laois had mistakenly brought on a sub for a black-carded player in injury-time, even after they had used all of their allotted substitutions.

The CCCC found that it had been an honest error by the Laois team, and proposed a replay - again in Portlaoise - two weeks later. The GAA accepted that proposal, and Laois would once again win out in the replay, this time by a single point.

Naomh Conaill v Kilcar - 2020 Donegal senior football final

Donegal GAA

24 April 2022; A Donegal flag during the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Quarter-Final match between Donegal and Armagh at Páirc MacCumhaill in Ballybofey, Donegal. Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

An unusual one here, with a replay that never ultimately occurred. Naomh Conaill faced Kilcar in the COVID-delayed 2020 Donegal final, in August of 2021.

This was yet another controversy that revolved around substitutions, with county final winners Naomh Conaill using one replacement more than permitted during extra-time, in a final that was ultimately decided on penalties.

Defeated finalists Kilcar were understandably furious, and lodged an appeal. Despite the Donegal CCC declaring a replay necessary, and it was even scheduled for September 8th 2021.

A successful appeal by Naomh Conaill to the Ulster CCC delayed the replay, and they were ultimately merely required to pay a €5,000 fine after a review by the Donegal board.

Naturally, Kilcar were deeply unhappy with the decision, saying that they were "shocked and appalled" in a statement - but they would ultimately drop their appeal and focus on the following year's club championship.

SEE ALSO: Joe Canning Says Galway Teammates Blamed Him For All-Ireland Defeat



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