GAA must call time on poor clock management

The announcement that there would be just one minute of additional time at the end of the second-half of the All Ireland Senior Football quarter-final between Laois and Dublin was met with shock by the Laois contingent in Croke Park on Saturday evening.

The announcement that there would be just one minute of additional time at the end of the second-half of the All Ireland Senior Football quarter-final between Laois and Dublin was met with shock by the Laois contingent in Croke Park on Saturday evening.

The fact that the majority of the time was taken up with a late Dublin ‘45 and two substitutions turned that shock to anger as supporters and players vented their anger at what was a very premature full-time whistle.

At that stage Laois just trailed by a goal and while they had struggled for scores in the second-half, Dublin had showed in the first-half that it only takes a second and a large slice of luck to score the all important three pointer.

Had Laois been given more time, time they certainly deserved given the amount of stoppages, they could well have fashioned an equaliser but the shrill blast of Cormac Reilly’s whistle after 71 minutes and 38 seconds ended any hopes Justin McNulty’s men had of forcing a replay.

On closer analysis it seems incredible that the official played such little added time. Not including delays for kick-outs, frees and ‘45s, the game was still stopped for a total of 8 minutes and 40 seconds in the second half.

Included in that are no fewer than 10 substitutions, four yellow cards and one injury stoppage which took up 1 minute and 13 seconds on its own.

The last long delay for Dublin’s ‘45 which Stephen Cluxton trotted up to take combined with a substitution for each team took exactly one minute and 30 seconds on its own.

It was almost as bad in the first-half as one minute and 22 seconds of stoppage time was played but of that one minute and two seconds was taken up by a Dublin player receiving treatment.

The issue of time keeping has long been an issue in the GAA an at the recent Laois County Board Meeting it was noted that suggestions were being sought by Croke Park to deal with the problem.

Well having covered the Ladies Football game between Laois and Kildare on Monday, it seems the solution is an easy one, just copy what the ladies are doing.

A countdown clock in the corner of the field is stopped for injuries and substitutions meaning that players, supporters and officials alike all know exactly how much time they have left. No one is waiting with baited breath for the referee to announce how long you have left to mount a comeback or hang on for the win.

Had Laois had the full eight minutes at their disposal that they should have had last Saturday, they could well have gotten something out of the game. On the other hand Dublin could easily have scored a second goal to finish Laois off.

However what might have happened is not the point. The point is time ran out far too soon before either side had a fair chance to write their own destiny.

Break down of stoppages

1st half

From 1.28 to 2.15 – (47 secs) Yellow card

From 20.15 to 21.40 (1 min 25 secs) Yellow cards

From 35.03 to 36.05 (1 min 2 secs) Injury

Total stoppages - 3 mins 14 secs

Added time – 1 min 22 secs

2nd half

From 41.07 to 41.32 - (25 secs) 1st Dublin Sub

From 49.11 to 49.40 - (29 secs) 1st Laois Sub

From 49.56 to 50.23 - (27 secs) Yellow Card

From 51.02 to 52.00 (58 secs) 2nd Dublin Sub

From 52.50 to 53.40 - (50 secs) Yellow Card/2nd Laois Sub/3rd Dublin Sub

From 56.40 to 57.11 - (31 secs) 3rdLaois Sub

From 57.22 to 57.52 - (30 secs) Yellow Card

From 60.48 to 61.28 - (40 secs) 4th Dublin Sub

From 61.58 to 62.25 - (27 secs) Yellow Card

From 64.30 to 65.10 - (40 secs) 4th Laois Sub

From 68.03 to 69.14 (1 min 13 secs) Injury

From 69.37 to 71.07 (1 min 30 secs) 5th Dublin Sub/5th Laois Sub

Total stoppages – 8 mins 40secs

Added Time – 1 min 38 secs