Roscommon claimed a hugely impressive draw at Croke Park against Dublin on Sunday, but much of the discussion since the game has revolved around a six-minute period at the end of the first-half, rather than the result.
With four minutes to go until half-time, a Dublin point reduced the gap between the teams to just three points, with Roscommon leading 0-8 to 0-5.
What followed was an extraordinary six-minute period of possession for Roscommon, which was almost reminiscent of some of the routs played out by Dublin during the Jim Gavin era.
The six-minute possession has been hotly contested in the days since, with major GAA figures such as Philly McMahon and James Horan disagreeing on the incident.
Roscommon: Debate rages on about six-minute period of possession
During that period of possession, Roscommon successfully completed 77 passes - 49 hand passes, and 28 kick passes - without a Dublin player getting a hand to the ball. The play ended in an excellent score from corner forward Diarmuid Murtagh to put Roscommon four points up going in at the break.
It was a remarkable level of control to exert over one of the counties hoping to be in the mix for the All-Ireland football championship later this year, but it was not without criticism.
Tiki-Taka Roscommon football.
🎥 GAAGO pic.twitter.com/pRELivpUGr
— OurGame.ie (@OurGameHQ) May 31, 2023
It took two full minutes of the possesion before Roscommon moved out of their own half and, of the 77 passes, 19 went back to goalkeeper Conor Carroll - who was, admittedly, playing in an advanced position.
Peter Canavan was among those who spoke out against the incident, while Oisin McConville said he felt a "moral dilemma" about the possession style of play. He said that he did not enjoy watching it, and that it was bad for spectators - but that he would feel a sense of pride if he had managed to coach his team into such a style of play.
Several have come out in defence of Roscommon on social media since the emergence of video footage, including ex-Dub and multiple All-Ireland winner Philly McMahon, who praised the "great score" from the Rossies.
Isn't it crazy to think majority of people that think this is boring and negative watch soccer and love the teams that can keep the ball, move the opposite and get a goal.
I get some dynamics are different. But this is a great score by Rossies, maybe different to what we like. https://t.co/NWoJznah4t
— Philly Mc Mahon (@PhillyMcMahon) June 1, 2023
I think this is brilliant game management, patience, composure, skill & disciplined. Taking the ball as far as you can down one wing; pull the breaks, back to the pivot & continue to do the same opposite wing. 👏 https://t.co/gXwrjUWuy1
— Shane Rice (@coachshanerice) June 1, 2023
This is brilliant.
Very composed and well coached.
I wouldn’t fancy watching it but is the aim not to go to croke and get a result v Dublin?
Don’t like it from the opposition? Evolve your tactics and take risks, don’t look for the GAA to bail you out with rule changes. https://t.co/yJ6QSDgyuT
— Mark McAreavey (@mmcareavey1) May 31, 2023
— Seamus Duke (@SeamusDuke) May 30, 2023
The main argument which has arisen in favour of Roscommon's period of possession is that it is no different to what was done by Dublin during their march to six-in-a-row under Jim Gavin in the late 2010s, when they would regularly be content with either keeping the ball or containing the opposition outside of their 45, often leading to dull conclusions to games.
And the skill involved is undoubtedly high. The pressure put on the Roscommon players, particularly in the flanks and once they crossed into the Dublin half, was immense, and the task of breaking down such a strong defence was mastered through the slow and patient buildup.
Nonetheless, it can't be said that it was an enthralling watch for spectators, and many in the Croke Park crowd could be heard whistling after the first few minutes of possession, before some (perhaps ironically) cheered as the Rossies progressed into Dublin territory.
Having written off Roscommon earlier this year, ex-Mayo manager James Horan analysed their chances in the aftermath of the Dublin game on the Examiner's Gaelic football podcast. During a debate on their score late in the first-half, Horan called the six-minute possession "unacceptable" from a Dublin perspective:
For Dublin in Croker to allow that to happen is really significant.
James McCarthy wasn't on it, Kilkenny went off injured. For some Dublin player not to stop it, not to do anything about it, or someone to decide, 'go for the keeper' [...] for something not to happen for five to six minutes, when they're three points down - is insane.
If you're a manager of that team, you're really worried by that malaise that was there with the Dublin team. For someone, somewhere, not to leave something on it, shake it up, do something, someone create a scene or do something somewhere...Roscommon mustn't have been able to believe their luck.
They were excellent in what they were doing. It's unacceptable, if you're a leader in that team [Dublin], it's unacceptable. For that length, for that duration, and that amount of plays.
The draw against Roscommon leaves Dublin needing results from their games against Kildare and Sligo if they are to top Group C and avoid the preliminary quarter-final phase.