Sean O'Shea and Evan Comerford. Laszlo Geczo/INPHO
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'He's more than entitled to go for that ball' - Sunday Game panel address O'Shea/Comerford penalty incident

O’Shea’s boot connected with Comerford’s face as he tried to force home the rebound of his saved penalty.

THE SUNDAY GAME panellist Oisin McConville says Sean O’Shea was entitled to attack the rebound of the penalty he saw saved by Dublin goalkeeper Evan Comerford during yesterday’s All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park. 

Kerry captain O’Shea saw an uncharacteristically tame penalty saved by Comerford in the final stages of the yesterday’s first-half, and as he swiped at the rebound with his right foot, his left foot caught Comerford in the face.

Comerford saved the penalty having delayed the game for several minutes, falling to the floor and requiring treatment before picking himself back up to save the spot kick. 

There was a minor flashpoint immediately after Comerford’s double save, with players from both sides squaring up to each other, after which Eoin Murchan and Paul Geaney were booked. 

O’Shea was not carded and went on to kick the stunning, 55-metre free-kick that earned Kerry a one-point win. McConville saw no issue with his attempt to play the rebound. 

“When he went in for the rebound, he’s more than entitled to go for that ball”, said McConville on last night’s highlights show. “In Evan Comerford’s case: football smarts. Staying down for as long as he did, taking that time off the clock. The other thing about the penalty situation was that it seemed to ignite a fire in Dublin. There was a little bit of handbags; nobody was contributing to a melee, or anything like that. Dublin got fired up and got into Kerry’s faces, and it took something like that. I felt Dublin were very, very flat early on in the game.”

Donegal’s Michael Murphy chimed in agreement on the latter point.

“As Oisin rightly points out, Kerry were on a roll”, said Murphy. “Nothing was going Dublin’s way, and it probably took something like that. The wait definitely doesn’t help, you’re sitting around with all kinds of things going through your head. All credit to Evan Comerford, he knew the rules, you could question the integrity of [the rules] but he waited as much time as he could. Dublin even got someone on the bench to warm up to delay it that little bit longer. Sean O’Shea won’t be happy with the penalty and the execution, but he didn’t let it deter him.”

Looking ahead to the final on Sunday week, Murphy said, “Kerry will definitely be favourites but Galway have absolutely nothing to lose.”

“They were six points up and had the chance to go further ahead with the penalty”, added Cora Staunton on Kerry, “but they didn’t have that ruthless streak to go further ahead. Of course we have to give credit to Dublin, but that will be lingering in the back of their minds. There is big hope for Galway, they’ll come up and attack this All-Ireland final, Galway rarely lose All-Ireland finals and it’s a huge opportunity for them.” 

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