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Debate Continues Over Decisive Free That Helped Galway Defeat Kilkenny

Debate Continues Over Decisive Free That Helped Galway Defeat Kilkenny
By Colman Stanley Updated

Galway were one point victors in their Leinster Senior Hurling Championship game over Kilkenny. However, many felt that the match winning free should not have been awarded.

The winning score ended a mental two minutes of action, as Kilkenny scored an equalising goal, before giving away the controversial free from the next puckout.

Referee Colm Lyons deemed Paddy Deegan to have committed a foul, and the free was duly knocked over by Conor Cooney in what was the last play of the game.

On RTE’s The Sunday Game, both Shane Dowling and Derek McGrath felt that it should not have been awarded.

“You’re told for years to attack the ball,” said McGrath. “So for me that was a really really unfair decision on Kilkenny. And the other thing is Tommy Phelan was in possession of the ball with a free shot at the goal.”

“Not for me Des no,” responded Dowling to Des Cahill’s question of whether it was a foul or not. “I think he was eyes on the ball and Derek hit the nail on the head, man ball and all. He went straight in and it was mad because it could have went either way.

“One thing you can say about Brian Cody is that he rarely blames referees,” continued Dowling. “But he went straight in after the Henry [Shefflin] incident, he went straight in and let Colm Lyons know.”

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In response to these comments from McGrath and Dowling, many fans on Twitter disagreed with their view of the incident.

Writing for the Irish Examiner, former referee Brian Gavin gave his expert view on the foul, providing an alternative take to the Sunday Game pundits, and brought up an excellent point on the time at which the foul occurred.

“Was it a free? It was a 50-50 call for Colm Lyons but possibly only because of the stage in the game. Had it taken place in the first five or 10 minutes, there would have been no quibbles about it going Galway's way.

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“You can see why Colm gave the free, though, and it was interesting that it came off a quick puck-out after Galway had conceded a goal and also brought forward by Colm. Cooney took as much time over the free as he did in Wexford but this time it wasn’t taken off him for running down the clock.

“Colm had a solid game. He gave good advantage for Eoin Cody’s goal, pulled up Galway for too many steps when Conor Whelan had a goal opportunity and was right with the yellow cards for Éanna Murphy and Cody, the latter for persistent fouling. Pádraic Mannion tried to buy a couple of frees, holding onto his opponent’s hurl, and Colm was guilty of being suckered into giving him one.”

Chatting on the Independent's The Throw In Podcast, ex-Kilkenny hurler Eddie Brennan disagreed with the decision of Colm Lyons, but also acknowledged his bias towards his home county.

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"I'm obviously bias to Kilkenny to a fraction, you are subconsciously, we all are. But I think if you take out that incident on its own. I mean if Paddy Deegan doesn't commit to that at that stage of the match, I'd be hopping off him. But Paddy Deegan's first contact his his hurl getting the ball.

"And if the show was on the other foot I'd say the same."

Brian Cody was undoubtedly annoyed at the decision, which may have been a reason for his awkward post-match handshake with Henry Shefflin.

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See Also: Galway Beat Kilkenny After Two Minutes Of Mad Drama

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