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Let's Forget About The Referee And Focus On A Classic Game Of Football

Let's Forget About The Referee And Focus On A Classic Game Of Football
By Michael McCarthy Updated

Nobody likes Dublin.

In 2005, Dublin played Tyrone in an All-Ireland Quarter Final. I watched the game in Clare with my uncle who was home from California for a family wedding. On the way to the pub to watch the match that day, he suggested everyone would be cheering for Dublin. After all, at this stage, Dublin had won one All-Ireland in the previous 22 years. They were loveable losers, surely. Tyrone were the favourites, and were in one of their many phases of "ruining the game" according to the pundits.

I laughed, and told him there wasn't a hope. This crowd would never support Dublin.

About 2 minutes into the game, I got a smiling nod from him. Dublin players were being called every name under the sun, and the GAA were obviously doing everything in their power to help them win, apparently.

Later on, when Owen Mulligan scored one of the greatest goals ever scored in Croke Park, the pub erupted.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O3G1bwD0ao0

So, yeah, nobody likes Dublin.

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Yesterday, we witnessed an absolute classic in Croke Park. This Dublin team could be one of the greatest that have ever played the game, and Kerry put it up to them. A proper game, and competitive until the last second.

Afterwards, even Pat Spillane, long known for spoiling our fun, joined in the general wave of positivity. Kerry "died with their boots on". They did their county proud. But Dublin were just too good. And Kerry ran out of legs. Dublin won the second half by 0-13 to 0-5.

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Dublin had it put it up to them by possibly the last roar of a dying lion. It was a great GAA story. The challenge was extended, and answered. Dublin's composure and skill in the second half was a joy to watch. Their last three points summed it all up. Three wonderful long range points from play from Eoghan O'Gara, Kevin McManamon and Diarmuid Connolly.

It's such a difficult thing to maintain this level of skill and accuracy chasing a game late on. Look at the Galway hurlers a couple of weeks ago, or Tyrone late on against Mayo. It's not an easy thing to get those late scores. Dublin did it to perfection.

Between The Sunday Game, my social media timelines, and the pub atmosphere, the immediate consensus was "What a game of football". I left the pub thinking the same, and reflecting on how nice it was for the country to be basking in a GAA story for positive reasons, and admiring a game of what has become a much maligned sport.

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By the time I got home, the narrative had changed. It was now all about David Gough. Once again, there was a GAA conspiracy to get Dublin another All-Ireland.

My twitter and facebook timelines were flooded  by gifs of Peter Crowley getting flattened.

Watching live, I honestly thought that McManamon had hit Crowley with an incredible shoulder. Obviously, this has proved not to be the case. But it was an honest mistake from the referee. Does there really need to be talk of a conspiracy?

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The most important thing about yesterday was it was the test of the great team, who came through with flying colours. If, in a decade or two, we look back on Dublin as one of the great teams, yesterday will be  a red letter date. You don't come back from 5 points down against Kerry in an All-Ireland semi final. It's just not done.

There's plenty unfair about Dublin's dominance. Their funding, their Croke Park residency, their sheer size. But they are an outstanding football team with outstanding footballers. They play exciting football and get magnificent scores.

This should be the story today. But it's not as exciting as a conspiracy theory.

Yes, a bad decision was made. These things happen in games. If it wasn't Dublin, would there have been the same reaction?

 

SEE ALSO: Kevin McManamon Was Put On This Earth To Break The Hearts Of Kerry People

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