GAA Editor @BrianGBarry
GAA weekend talking points: David Clifford dismissal, timekeeping and more
Last Updated: 11/02/20 11:02am
Following the weekend's Gaelic football action, we look at the major talking points emanating from the matches.
Clifford's red card
David Clifford was left incensed following his dismissal against Tyrone, and it's not a leap to suggest that the red card had a significant impact on the result. The Kingdom's captain had scored 0-6 before being given his marching orders, and he watched the remainder of the game from the sideline as the Red Hands prevailed by a single point.
Many were left angered by the nature of Clifford's second yellow card, suggesting Tyrone's Ben McDonnell was the only player at fault.
Send a sub on to the star forward on a yellow, start a row pull him down to the ground. Smart by Tyrone but not so smart by the 2 umpires 10 yards away with no clue of who is on a yellow or the situation that’s just unfolded. Proper camera angles may suggest otherwise. #gaa— Kieran Donaghy (@starryboy14) February 9, 2020
The referee deemed the incident worthy of a yellow card for both players, but given the Fossa star was already booked, he was forced to leave the field.
It was met with widespread criticism, suggesting the referee and umpires got it wrong.
The issue of injury-time was a hot topic this past weekend, with Monaghan leaving a point behind them in Croke Park.
Seamus McEnaney refused to be drawn on Ciarán Branagan's timekeeping, after Dublin scored an 80th minute equaliser despite just six minutes being added onto the second-half. However, many questioned how so much added time had been calculated.
Meanwhile, Andy McEntee was left fuming after Meath weren't allowed one more play in Páirc Tailteann, as the Royals suffered a one-point defeat to Mayo.
Is it time for the GAA to follow the lead of the LGFA, taking the responsibility of timekeeping out of the referees' hands and introducing a countdown clock?
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Rory Beggan's missiles
There were mixed feelings in the Monaghan camp at full-time on Saturday night. A draw with Dublin at Croke Park is an admirable result, but the fact that they spurned a ten-point cushion will leave a bitter taste in the mouth.
However, one major positive was the performance of Rory Beggan. The 2018 All-Star goalkeeper showed just how useful a play-maker he can be, frequently foraying further up the field, looking to get involved as Monaghan build their attack.
His free-taking showed just what a weapon the Farney County possess. Any time Dublin conceded a free in their own half, there was a scoring chance as the Scotstown man displayed his range. The manner in which he nonchalantly stroked over a second-half free from the 65-yard line ensured jaws dropped all around Croke Park.
It goes to show that there aren't many goalkeepers in the country as influential as Beggan.
Dublin have forgotten how to lose
Dessie Farrell's side aren't at full strength right now, and the new manager is looking to experiment in this National League campaign. But for the second time in three games, their survival instincts kicked in when trailing in the second-half.
The All-Ireland champions snatched a draw from virtually nowhere on Saturday, after trailing by six points as the game entered injury-time.
The Sky Blues seem reluctant to yield any ground to their main competitors, as they mark their territory ahead of the summer.
Sure, Jim Gavin has departed. But the experience remains in this playing group - they know how to dig deep and change games when it matters most.
Meath's stay in the top flight set to be a short one
Just three rounds into the campaign, the Royals are three points adrift of seventh spot in Division 1. Their fixtures won't be getting any easier, with three of their remaining four games on the road, and those include trips to Croke Park and Fitzgerald Stadium.
Andy McEntee's charges enjoyed a promising 2019 season, featuring promotion from Division 2 and a Super 8s appearance. After growing accustomed to mixing it with the top teams in recent months, they now need to start getting results.
It looks a tall order to stay up from here, as two wins would likely still not be enough to ensure safety. However, they must use the experience in the top tier to further develop as a team, and picking up one win in the coming weeks would still signal that they are moving in the right direction.