Calling Time

Colm O'Neill told by ref there was 'a minute or so left' in yesterday's Cork-Mayo game

There was plenty controversy at the finish in Croke Park yesterday.

Cathal Noonan / INPHO Cathal Noonan / INPHO / INPHO

CORK FORWARD COLM O’Neill was told by referee Cormac Reilly that there was ‘a minute or so left’ when he kicked his late free in yesterday’s All-Ireland quarter-final against Mayo.

O’Neill tapped over an injury-time free in Croke Park to cut the deficit that Cork faced to a single point rather than trying to score a match-winning goal.

But despite being told there would be time for Cork to try to get an equalizer, O’Neill then saw referee Cormac Reilly blow for full-time from the subsequent kick out.

O’Neill opted not to discuss the controversial ending in detail after the match but did confirm that the Meath whistler told him there ‘a minute or so left’ before he took the late kick.

Cork boss Brian Cuthbert also revealed afterwards that selector Ciaran O’Sullivan had been informed of the same message by the referee.

But Cuthbert refused to blame Reilly for Cork’s exit from the 2014 championship.

“Look you’re going to have calls for and against you, some days they go with you, some days they don’t. We’re certainly not looking at the referee as to why we’re not going on to the semi-final.

“We just left ourselves with too much of a hill to climb after half-time, going in six or seven points down, it’s a huge ask to come back against a very good team like Mayo to win the game.

“The lesson for us is don’t put yourself in a position where you’re hanging on for a last-minute free to decide whether you’re going to have to go for a goal or wait for more time.

“I’d be immensely proud of my guys, they gave everything they’ve got. (Their) character was questioned, their desire was questioned; and I would like to think they answered that today.”

James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Cuthbert reflected on that third quarter period as the spell that contributed most to Cork’s demise.

“We lost a few kick outs, lost a few breaks. They were able to come at us. A lot of things we’d spoken about, we took the ball in to contact too much and they were able to turn us over.

“They’re very good at that. Once they turn you over, you’re wide open. We just took the ball in to contact when we shouldn’t have. They got a lot of their scores there from that. Just silly mistakes.”

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