THE CURTAIN CAME down on Mayo’s 2019 in heartbreaking circumstances at Croke Park yesterday, the Green and Red just missing out on a coveted All-Ireland final spot.
Their Connacht rivals Galway were one-point winners at the death, but the game didn’t finish up without some late drama in the dying seconds.
Róisín Leonard was the last-gasp hero, her late, late free-kick from the ground putting the Tribe 2-10 to 2-9 up with 85 seconds on the clock.
In typical Mayo fashion, Peter Leahy’s charges responded immediately, showing true fight as full-forward Rachel Kearns danced towards goal before going to ground just outside the square.
While Mayo fans thought referee Seamus Mulvihill was awarding a free in for a foul, the Kerry man awarded a free out to Galway for Kearns’ double-hop.
An irate Leahy didn’t hold back afterwards, claiming that Mulvihill’s decision was influenced by an official in the Croke Park control room.
“When you are done outside the rules of the game it is not a great thing,” the Westmeath native said. “When you pull the two hops, we are told by the fourth official that it was from upstairs by television which is against the rules.
“The referee didn’t see it, the umpires didn’t see it. The television pulled it up. She was fouled four times before she got to hop it twice and he pulls it back for two hops. Which is not in the rule book to be done by trial by television. That is a little bit annoying.”
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The LGFA has since dismissed that claim, however.
“The referee consulted with his umpire and nobody else,” a spokesperson from the association told The42 this morning. “The team of officials made the correct call.”
Leahy continued to air his grievances afterwards that Kearns was fouled before the double-hop, but stressed his immense pride in his group:
“The fact that she is fouled down before that was a little bit annoying that he didn’t go back,” he said. “He just put advantage on it, it was a definite free from start to finish.
A little bit annoying in that circumstance but I have huge pride in these girls. Huge honour they showed today, commitment. Our own destiny was ruled by our amount of wides we had today. Our shot selection was poor. We had too many wides.
“We also kicked balls straight into the goalkeeper’s hands when we were one-on-one when it was a much easier situation to put it across the box. We weren’t clinical. We owned the ball.
“Without sounding facetious in any way we had more of the ball and there was large sections of the game where I thought we dominated it. But not to come out with the result is disappointing.”
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