As Club Mayo Sports put it rather aptly on Twitter a bit earlier on this evening, we don’t know yet where this year’s Connacht final is going to be played but we do know that the match will be reffed by Meath’s Cormac Reilly. Official confirmation of this fact is on the GAA.ie website – here.
I’m not sure when the Meath official most recently took charge of a league match involving us but the last – and, I think, the only – time he did the honours at one of our championship matches was when we played Tyrone in the Round 4 Qualifier match at Croke Park back in August 2008. In my report on that one-point defeat to the Red Hand I described his performance that day as “poor” but, to be honest, I think our own showing wasn’t that hectic that day. To be fair to him, I don’t think Cormac Reilly’s handling of that game altered its outcome in any real way.
The only other match involving us that I remember him doing was also against Tyrone, in the minor All-Ireland final replay that year. He was alright that day as far as I recall.
The Meathman had a controversial enough year in 2011, with his decision to award Dublin a late free (correctly, in my view) in their Leinster semi-final against Kildare. This enabled the Dubs to snatch the spoils and gave the Lilywhites further cause to believe that the whole world is agin ’em (while at the same time giving some commentators the notion that the Short Grass County are, by narrowly failing to beat any county of note, the fourth best team in the country).
The Meath official also raised a few hackles down South last summer when he awarded a penalty to Waterford in their qualifier clash with Limerick but then, having consulted his umpires, decided to throw the ball in instead. Looking at the video clip just now, I think he was right in the first instance but any ref who takes the trouble to consult with his umpires deserves at least some credit.
Still no decision, of course, on the venue for the final but Noel Connelly in his Mayo News column this week somewhat mischievously notes that “it looks like we might have to settle for a trip to the seaside in Salthill”. I know I’m opting for a different kind of seaside altogether for this one but I hope for all concerned that Pearse Stadium isn’t where it ends up being held. An announcement on the venue for the final is expected tomorrow night.
Finally, Mick Donnellan has been on to ask me to remind all and sundry that his play Shortcut to Hallelujah opened at the Town Hall Theatre in Galway last night and that it continues its run at the venue until this Saturday (30th). Further details on the play, including how to get tickets for it, are available here.