On Saturday evening at Croke Park, Meath completed a remarkable comeback to defeat Antrim in the final of the Christy Ring Cup to secure Liam McCarthy status for 2017.
However, their narrow one-point win was shrouded in controversy, as it soon became clear that the scoreboard and referee had the score wrong.
Now the score is wrong on scoreboard… Should be 1-16, 1-20 pic.twitter.com/qkvRE4ZE53
— Fergal Lynch (@truefergallynch) June 4, 2016
I’m convinced there has been a major mistake in Croke Park today over final score of Antrim v Meath. It should have ended a draw.
— Brendan Crossan (@CrossanBrendan) June 4, 2016
Watched Christy Ring final back on fast forward there. Definitely finished Antrim 1-20 Meath 2-17 @CrossanBrendan
— Cahair O’Kane (@CahairOKane1) June 4, 2016
As the dust settles, there are increasing calls for the match to be replayed, or at the very least action to be taken. Last night on The Sunday Game, Anthony Daly forwarded the notion of perhaps offering both sides promotion next season.
The Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) are meeting tomorrow to discuss the issue.
The referee’s scoreline, which is the official one, had it wrong.
Should the result be overturned? Should their be a replay? Should both teams be promoted?
Referees make blunders all the time. Some are bigger than others. Sure, he can check back on the video afterwards and see if he was right or wrong, but his decision must be final.
Where can were draw a line? In a one-point game there can be tight margins. Waterford may have felt cheated following the League final replay.
If we are to decide which incorrect refereeing decisions are big enough to overturn, we enter some dangerous waters; the realms of subjectivity.
At the end of the day, this was a refereeing blunder, and it cost one team; something which happens every day, albeit not to this magnitude.
Yes, the Christy Ring Cup final result was a major blunder, and one that could set Antrim hurling back years, but the result must stand. If this is to be overturned, it may have a floodgate effect, and officiators will come in under increasing scrutiny. Make an exception here, and the CCCC will suddenly be inundated with appeals regarding questionable line-ball decisions, etc.
To set such a precedent would only serve to make the CCCC’s future dealings much more complicated.
If the floodgates open, it will become impossible to referee hurling in the future. Every decision will become fair game to challenge.
There is a distinct stink of the Thierry Henry handball about all of this. Not letting Ireland have a replay was a frustrating and unpopular decision, but it was nonetheless the correct one.
Similarly, Limerick’s omission from the 2013 All-Ireland Minor final was due to a Hawkeye blunder, but the result stood, no matter how unfair it was.
Antrim were robbed on Saturday evening. The Ulster side were not beaten, but go home as losers. Sport and fairness dictate that the result should not stand, but the rules state otherwise.
If we do not have rules, we have nothing. The GAA must hold firm on this, no matter how unpopular.