Ray Cosgrove: No asterisk beside Kilmacud All-Ireland win

The Kilmacud Croke's players celebrate after last year's All-Ireland final victory over Glen. Picture by Mark Marlow

KILMACUD will be determined to prove there is “no asterisk” beside last year’s All-Ireland title when they face Glen in a rematch of that decider in Sunday’s semi-final, according to former Croke’s star Ray Cosgrove.

It is just under a year since the Dublin club lifted the Andy Merrigan Cup after a two point victory over the Ulster champions.

However, that result was shrouded in controversy as Kilmacud finished the game with 16 men on the field – Dara Mullin positioning himself on the goal line to defend a Danny Tallon 45 at the death, despite having been replaced by Conor Casey seconds earlier.

The saga rumbled on for 13 days, during which the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) decreed that a replay should take place following Glen’s appeal.

Kilmacud subsequently stated their intention to challenge the order for a replay, prompting Glen to announce their withdrawal from the process based on the lack of “opportunity for a replay to be held”, with so many players from both clubs having taken holidays.

Almost 12 months on, the draw has brought the pair together again, with that previous drama providing an interesting sub-plot going into Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final in Newry.

But Cosgrove doesn’t feel the fall-out that followed the 2022 final has taken away from Kilmacud’s victory.

“It got messy,” said the former Dublin sharp-shooter, an All-Ireland winner with the Croke’s in 2009.

“I hope the organisation has learned from it, because they certainly could have reacted more quickly. By letting it drag out, and putting the onus on the clubs, it didn’t really help the situation.

“It needed the GAA to show a bit more authority and make that hard call, draw a line in the sand and move on. The more it dragged out, boys celebrating, fellas going on holidays, it made it that much harder for a replay to take place.

“But, having been at the game, Kilmacud were the better team on the day, and for however long the 16th man was on the pitch, I don’t honestly believe that it changed the result of the game.

Ray Cosgrove, an All-Ireland winner with Kilmacud Croke's in 2009, is excited about Sunday's semi-final date with Ulster champions Glen. Picture by Sportsfile

“Obviously if you ask someone wearing a Glen hat, you’ll get a different take on it. But I have heard Malachy O’Rourke and Conor Glass both come out and say on record, we were beaten on the day and that’s it.

“As far as I’m concerned, there’s no asterisk.”

Yet what happened last January will undoubtedly provide different motivations for the clubs when they cross the white line at Pairc Esler.

And Cosgrove feels Kilmacud, determined to hold onto their crown having already conquered Dublin and Leinster, will have been bitten by some of the commentary that followed their All-Ireland triumph.

“Because of the way things ended up last time, I’m sure the lads are saying ‘right, we’ve got an opportunity now to put this to bed and prove that the asterisk isn’t there’.

“There has to be that motivation, that there is a little bit of a point to prove here - let’s go out and do it.”