Hawkeye uncertainty approaching All Ireland Finals a major issue for GAA

The GAA is awaiting a review of the Hawkeye technology before deciding whether it will be in use for the All Ireland Senior Hurling Final this weekend in Croke Park. 

The technology, which works by using eight high-speed cameras which create the ball image through computer-generated imagery, indicates whether or not a point should be awarded in situations that are difficult to judge for an umpire, and was widely welcomed following its introduction to the sport in 2013. 

However, the failings of Hawkeye were highlighted during Derry and Galway in the first All Ireland Football Semi at the weekend, with Shane Walsh pointing from a 45’ that was subsequently ruled out by the technology. Before entering the break RTE showed head-on replays with the goalposts that clearly showed Walsh’s effort going between the posts. 

Hawkeye technology was stood down for the second semi-final that took place Sunday between Kerry and Dublin, and one wonders what the reaction would’ve been had the last-minute winning Sean O’Shea point been right on the margins and required the use of the tech.

Speaking to GalwayBayFM earlier, Galway Chairman Paul Bellew revealed that he and his secretary Padraig Kelly visited the Officiating team at halftime with footage of the clear score, even telling referee Brendan Cawley that Galway would not take the field in the second half if the score was not rectified. 

On The Sunday Game programme on RTE on Sunday evening, a first-half score from Conor Glass seemingly was well between the posts but this score was not corrected in the game, so the halftime score could’ve read 5-4 to Derry, but now the questions have to be asked as to how many mistakes might have been missed in previous games?

The GAA faces an €8,000 bill for every fixture that the technology is used in, which is a hefty price to pay, and former GAA President and current MEP Sean Kelly believes this payment should be withheld until the issues are resolved. Kelly tweeted that “Hawkeye was set up at enormous expense to eliminate human error . After today’s ridiculous faux pas & not being able to give a decision a few weeks ago” that the GAA “must get tough with operators.” Kelly branded the situation “Outrageous & unacceptable. Players deserve better”.

Human error will always be a minute margin in aspects of life, and the technology in these instances is fantastic to make sure we get the right decisions and respect the integrity of the sport. 

Hawkeye the company has built up an incredible reputation through its usage in multiple major sporting events worldwide, and Croke Park was just one of the numerous operations they had at the weekend with Wimbledon and the Women’s European Championship both taking place in the UK to name a few. 

The use of technology in the sport is almost certainly here to stay, but at the operations cost it does generate, the GAA will have to spend some time assessing how it malfunctioned and make sure this cannot happen again going forward. 

25-year-old TV, Radio, and New Media graduate from IT Tralee with a passion for a whole variety of sports including GAA, Football, Ice Hockey, and Motor Racing to name a few.

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