GAA Digest: Mayo still on hold for All-Ireland triumph


“What was the free count? And what were Dublin saying after the semi-final last year? Were they shouting up and down about it?”

Gavin took exception to the number of fouls awarded against his team on Sunday by Cavan referee McQuillan.

The Dublin supremo said, “That’s just beyond me. I can’t understand that. I really can’t. That’s one of the very disappointing things.

“Not only were we playing Mayo but we were playing the referee as well.”

He also claimed frustration was the root cause of any Dublin negativity in the final stages.

“They were frustrated. That free count is just not acceptable. Anybody here can ask me are Dublin a cynical team and we’re not,” Gavin stated.

“We play the game with certain values in the squad and we play the game the way we believe it should be played and to have that amount, 32 to 12 … that was just Dublin players getting frustrated.

“There is a double count going against us, all the time. It’s not only today. We probably held our counsel for most of the games but that has been the trend in all the games.

“It’s a fight that we have in every game, that opposition players are getting more frees than we are and we work very hard on the art of defending and the technical tackle.

“It’s disappointing. That’s an enormous amount of frees to give away in any game.”

Horan admitted his team had played their part in their own downfall, particularly after enjoying better possession in the first half but failing to convert it into scores.

“We had enough ball to win the game. We just made too many mistakes and had too many turnovers. I think it’s that straightforward,” Horan said.

“We dominated the first 15 minutes but we didn’t get the score return we possibly should have. We had too many wides.

“It’s tough, two All-Ireland finals in a row is tough. Some of the mistakes we made today were disappointing.  That game was there for the taking for us but we just didn’t take the chances.

Star man Keith Higgins agreed with Horan. “Anytime we got the ball up to the half-forward line or full-forwards we looked to be causing them problems but we didn’t get the return we should have,” he said.

Mayo Angry at Ref
REFEREE Joe McQuillan has defended his decision to blow the final whistle just seconds after Cillian O’Connor’s late point from a free for Mayo in Sunday’s All-Ireland final.

Angry Mayo players surrounded McQuillan at the end of the game as they believed the match should have gone on for another 30 seconds.

They are also adamant that O’Connor would have gone for goal if he’d known time was almost up.

Mayo boss James Horan stated, “When you ask the ref how long is left, when you ask him twice, you know...he tells you there’s at least 30 seconds left after the score. That’s a little disappointing.

“But, look, that’s neither here nor there. The game is over, we were beaten so, yeah, we’re very disappointed.”

McQuillan claimed that he told O’Connor there was “30 seconds left” as he prepared to take the free.

“There was absolutely no suggestion that it would be after the kick-out or anything like that. I simply said ‘there’s 30 seconds left’ and that was from the moment he asked me,” McQuillan said.

“I said it three times, I’m sure plenty of players heard me and I was on an open mic to all my match officials, including Dickie Murphy who was the overseer on Hawk-Eye, so all of those can confirm what I said.

“Immediately after the game, some Mayo players said to me, ‘You said there was going to be another play,’ but I never said that because there is no such thing as that.

“I can’t tell a player to go for goal or anything like that, I can only tell him how much time was left and that is exactly what I did.

“If the ball had gone out for a ‘45’ I would have had to allow that to be played, but otherwise there was 30 seconds left on the clock.

“The player took some time to take the free and when I blew the final whistle there was 74 minutes and 39 seconds on my stopwatch.”