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'It was the right call morally' - Why Antrim's chairman halted semi-final replay shootout

Lamh Dhearg and Portglenone will go to a second replay.

Ciaran McCavana calls a halt to a shoot-out after consulting both managers.
Ciaran McCavana calls a halt to a shoot-out after consulting both managers.
Image: Jerome Quinn

CONTROVERSY REIGNED IN last night’s Antrim SFC semi-final replay when the county board chairman called a halt to the game during a free-kick shoot-out. 

Lamh Dhearg’s clash against Portglenone finished level at 0-15 to 1-12 after extra-time, while the sides were deadlocked at 9-9 after taking 10 free-kicks apiece in the shoot-out. 

As Lamh Dhearg forward Paddy Cunningham stepped up to take his side’s sixth free of sudden death, Antrim chairman Ciaran McCavana consulted both managers and made the decision to call a further replay.

Source: Jerome Quinn/YouTube

“I believe it was the right call morally,” said McCavana in a video posted on Antrim GAA Twitter’s account.

“I’m glad I’ve done it. It might not please everyone, but I have to have the moral courage to look after the players.

“We have amateur players who are giving their all, they’re training for nine months and they don’t deserve to lose the county semi-final and the chance to play in the final that way.”

Speaking about McCavana’s decision to Jerome Quinn after the game, Cunningham said: “I heard someone in the background going, ‘Paddy wait, Paddy wait,’ and I actually thought it was one of the Portglenone players.

“Ciaran stepped in. He’s been a wonderful chairman since he’s been in and he summed it up well – it would have been difficult for any team to lose a county semi-final over free-kicks.”

Former Antrim star Cunningham kicked this stunning score during the game.

Antrim GAA have also announced that the proceeds from the second replay will be split equally between three charities – deterMND, Paul McKeever’s Cancer Focus and Friends of Cancer Centre.

Reigning champions Cargin await the winners in the decider.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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