CHARLESTOWN captain Enda Casey believes that the referee’s decision not to have the last kick of last Sunday’s All-Ireland Intermediate Championship semi-final retaken was wrong — but says it wasn’t the only reason why the Mayo champions missed out on the opportunity to play at Croke Park next month.
Cookstown’s one-point victory after extra-time over Charlestown in last weekend’s All-Ireland semi-final has been overshadowed by the fact that Colm Maye’s last-gasp free-kick was blocked by a Cookstown player who was standing too close to the ball.
However, referee Gary McCormack from Dublin took no action at the time and blew for full-time seconds later, sparking wild celebrations from the Tyrone champions.
Speaking to The Mayo News last night, Enda Casey admitted that he couldn’t believe how events unfolded in those final, dramatic moments.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I was in total shock at the time,” he said. “Now, in hindsight, I realise that the referee should have blown the whistle, taken a second to gather his thoughts, and ordered the free to be retaken.
“The Cookstown lads ran out towards Colm [Maye] when he was starting his run-up, the ball struck one of them on the hand, and it was a straightforward decision for the referee to make.
“I’m not playing the blame-game, it was a big game for the referee too, but there was only one call to be made.
“At the same time, it was just one of the things that contributed to us losing the game,” continued the 32-year old skipper. “Anything that could go wrong just went wrong and conceding the goal was a massive blow.
“We were five points up at half-time but just couldn’t push on. We just couldn’t get into our rhythm and the scores dried up on us.”
Casey, who is a former Mayo Minor and U-21 defender, also pleaded with James Horan to give an opportunity to two Charlestown players who have been outstanding performers for the club in recent times.
“I really, truly believe that Tom Parsons and Anthony Mulligan deserve a shot with Mayo after their performances for us during the last few months,” said Casey.
“They’re both hungry for it, really committed, and two very good footballers.
“I know Davitts’ run in the All-Ireland series last year gave Colm Boyle and Michael Conroy the opportunity to get back into the Mayo squad and I would love to think that Tom and Anthony would get a chance too.”
The entire Charlestown squad will now take a few weeks off before returning to training for the new Mayo GAA season which begins on March 30/31.
Enda Casey said that he had a simple message for his team-mates before they went their separate ways last weekend.
“I’m absolutely gutted to have missed out on the opportunity to captain the team in an All-Ireland Final at Croke Park. But, when I think back to twelve months ago, after Tourmakeady beat us in a relegation play-off, I see how far we’ve come.
“We gave this season absolutely everything and, of course we’re disappointed, but I’ve asked the lads not to make any rash decisions and, hopefully, we can regroup and have a good year ahead.”