Derry midfielder Conor Glass has criticized the quality of communication over the decision to retrospectively award Shane Walsh’s free as a half-time point in their semi-final loss to Galway.
The Glen midfielder has been hailed as one of the stars of the inter-county season, now widely touted for an All-Star as Derry – mired in Division 4 just three years ago – has blasted his way to a first Ulster title for 24 years, then lighting up Clare in the quarter-finals.
But champions Ulster’s welfare season ended on a negative note, with a five-point loss to Padraic Joyce’s side in the last four, only their second competitive loss of 2022 – both against Westerners.
The semi-final was marred by an alarming Hawk-eye error, which saw the technology shelved for the Kerry-Dublin semi-final the following day.
Derry left for the locker room at half-time, believing they held a one-point lead, however, the half-time chatter on the site was dominated by discussion of the Hawk-eye error which saw Shane Walsh free, clearly visible as a dot on television reruns, improperly ruled by technology.
Shortly before the end of the interval, word leaked that the point would be added to the score. The decision was announced on the tannoy and the scoreboard changed just before the second-half throw-in.
Is there a problem with HawkEye? Shane Walsh’s free at the end of the half was ruled wide by Croke Park tech, but the replay would suggest otherwise
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— The Sunday Game (@TheSundayGame) July 9, 2022
Glass was placed under the crossbar for the free Walsh and immediately accepted it was a point, but felt the communication about the decision to re-award the point at half-time could have been handled better.
“It was a big gray area,” the former AFL star said in an extensive interview with Saturday Sport on RTÉ Radio 1.
“I actually didn’t realize (that the previous point had been added) until they won a point after Shane Walsh’s free-kick five minutes into the second half.
“When he scored – before half-time – I was standing under the crossbar and it was clearly over the bar so I was a bit confused obviously with Hawk-eye.
“It was not communicated very well, neither to Derry staff, nor even to the referee or GAA officials, that the point was added. The players had no idea that was the case .”
Glass is reluctant to say the decision changed the course of the game, but acknowledged that it threw them off slightly.
“It’s obviously off-putting. Look, I’m not going to sit here and say that if we had started the second half a point ahead it would have made a big difference because our performance in the second half- time was not But elite sport is all about good margins and if we had that lead in the second half it could have changed the dynamics of the game.
“In the heat of the moment it wasn’t communicated well and it wasn’t handled well by the players ourselves.”
Glass himself had a point ruled out by Hawk-eye in the first half, with the big-screen graphic indicating the ball went over the crossbar. The call was revisited in light of Shane Walsh’s blatantly incorrect tech intervention on the freebie.
However, Glass himself was coyly philosophical about the failure to come back to the incident.
“I will always say it was over the bar! But yeah, it is,” he said.
“It’s obviously off-putting. Look, I’m not going to sit here and say that if we had started the second half a point ahead it would have made a big difference because our performance in the second half- weather wasn’t too great.
Asked if the semi-final reflected Derry’s current level and limitations, Glass insisted that Derry had rather underperformed and expressed hope that the game would keep the team within the limits. years to come.
“Personally, I think we underperformed. We weren’t as far behind as the scoreline reflected. Yes, obviously we scored a late goal and that helped the scoreline a bit. We didn’t surrender justice, because the second time this season because Galway also affected us a little in the league.
“I hope these kind of games will be very useful for us in the next three or four years. Because our team is very young. These kind of defeats can only make a team better.
“We showed that in the quarter-finals against Clare. We put five goals ahead of them. If you’re not defending with 15 men, you’re not really playing a team sport. Because we’re defending with 15 backs a bit deeper than most teams, Galway did like us.
“It was a very tactical battle, I thought. But we have the players to light up Croke Park, hopefully we show that next year.”
Reflecting on the season, Glass said the mood was bleak immediately after Galway’s semi-final but acknowledged they would have to be content with their campaign as a whole.
“Mixed emotions. Directly from the Galway game it was a bit dark and dark. But looking back and seeing the county kids still wearing their Derry tops, it was a successful year.
“If we had predicted at the start of the year that we would be in this position, you would have grabbed it with both hands. The ultimate target is All-Ireland but there is a process and obviously we are very happy with the way that we’ve done this year.”