Off The Fence

Off the Fence: No cold comfort at Clones

Referee David Coldrick's Ulster Final performance came under scrutiny from the fans. Picture: Seamus Loughran.

IT will come as no great surprise to you that ‘David Coldrick’ comes up first in the number of mentions on this week’s Off the Fence, followed by ‘referee’.

Tyrone are back on the Ulster podium again after a six-year slip, and they did it the hard way after losing Mattie Donnelly and Cathal McShane to first half black cards.

The Meath referee came in for all sorts of bad manners on TV, radio and online, so we might as well add print to the list.

‘Lifelong Tyrone fan Declan’ was clearly expecting all the heat to come from the field in front of him rather than the skies above him on Sunday, and has strong words for the referee’s ‘misjudgement’ of proceedings.

“I carried a jumper into Clones on Sunday. I had totally misjudged the temperature. David Coldrick completely misjudged the temperature as well, but his miscalculation in Clones than me being too warm.

“In a game that had not one off-the-ball incident, no undercurrent that appeared to be simmering, not even, as Pat Spillane would put it, a schemozzle, by half-time he had two young Tyrone players on the line. At most, a quiet word in the ear would have been sufficient.

“In the second half, Tyrone changed the way they were playing. They pushed up on the Donegal kickouts, went man-to-man on McHugh and tackled with much more ferocity, which is all more than acceptable.

“But the referee changed his tactics as well. What was a black card in the first half was now a yellow card, and that’s not good enough. It’s totally unacceptable.

“Two young players sitting on the sidelines after training for the game of their lives due to his incompetence. If this is how our supposed top official reads the game, we’re in for a long, hot summer.”

CO’K: The inconsistency of Coldrick’s performance was indicative of what truly frustrates players and managers nowadays. What was a foul in the first half didn’t appear to be a foul in the last 20 minutes. Thompson should have seen black. McShane shouldn’t, and Donnelly was unlucky.

The totally unbiased ‘Tyrone caller’ queries the lofty reputation of last year’s All-Ireland final referee, and can’t resist a dig at one of last week’s contributors into the bargain.

“What a great result against the odds. Who says David Coldrick is the best referee in Ireland? Inconsistent.

“He failed to black card Anthony Thompson, and your paper doesn’t mention Michael Murphy’s black card offence.

“And what about ‘Down man’ in Off the Fence last week who said that Tyrone were inconsistent – he’d know as Down have been very consistent this year.”

CO’K: Down man actually called back as well, to tell us how close his prediction was. I try to tell that to the bookies too but they never listen.

In his column yesterday, Danny Hughes called for the abolition of the black card, labelling it a ‘complete failure’.

Over on The Facebook, as the mother calls it, ‘Peadar’ was in agreement.

“Been saying that since the stupid thing was introduced, it's like watching basketball as players are afraid to put in a tackle, a refs common sense on cynical fouling should be enough.”

‘Kieran from Randalstown’ was generally unimpressed with the fare that the best of Ulster and Leinster offered up on Sunday afternoon, and took issue with Tyrone.

“Rare nowadays for me to get a free Sunday afternoon to watch the Gaelic but after three halves of negativity I was tempted to observe in the words of the immortal Patsy Devlin that 'I wasn't missing much'. Then Dublin slipped into overdrive and the sun came out.

“Apart from some impressive long-range scores from both sides the Ulster final was just 'negativity personified'. Tyrone don't have the cynics of old but a couple of incidents at least were reminders of past days. Mattie Donnelly's body slam on young McHugh was rightly recognised by the ref as thinly disguised cynicism. He has acting talent also.

“The two Sean Cavanagh scores, though well taken, were preceded by trademark 'charging with the ball' which Sean has been doing forever and only the more astute refs seem to penalise it. Sadly this encounter could only be won by a negative team and Tyrone shrugged off their negativity for five minutes and duly won. If they make Croke Park and face the Dubs they will need more than five minutes worth of positivity to have a prayer.”

CO’K: I think you’re mistaking Sean Cavanagh’s ‘charging’ for someone running at a defender and breaking a tackle. And I turned the TV over to The Lion King after the Ulster final rather than watch Dublin cruise to their 48th straight Leinster title. See tomorrow’s paper for analysis of the similarities between Mufasa’s fall and Aidan O’Shea’s.

No Ulster final weekend is complete without someone complaining about Clones and yearning for the GAA to just go on and build Casement and never worry about the planners. Take it away, ‘Kev McG’

“Lads, the sooner Casement is built the better!

“I actually don't know how to put it in words of how bad that place is! The way in and out is a joke and has being for decades, the facilities within the pitch is like something from the 60's eg the male toilets on the hill is basically a wall, and the pubs around the place are rotten!

“It's time people stopped talking about Clones being great and history and tradition blah blah blah and we all get behind Casement and get it built!”

CO’K: I’ve yet to see any town or city that can get 35,000 people away quickly. Have you ever been to a Premier League game? You could sit outside Old Trafford for an hour before you move, or wait twice as long to get on to the tram. The College is mental to get out of after a big game in Croke Park. That’s life. Go to the pub or the chippy or get an ice cream and enjoy the sun. Just chill, man.

Lastly, it’s clearly itching at ‘Anonymous’ that Rorz is not heading for Rio.

“I had a fantastic four days last weekend watching the golf. I was absolutely amazed at those two guys and the way they played. I watched most of the golfers except Rory McIlroy. I just watched the ones that mattered. I just hope that the ‘Zico’ virus doesn’t come to Dublin. If it does, I think Tyrone will still go there.”

CO’K: Symptoms reportedly include increased ability to hit deadly free-kicks.

Off The Fence

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