McQuillan: I said "30 seconds left"

24 September 2013

Cavan referee Joe McQuillan
Joe McQuillan says he told Cillian O'Connor "there's 30 seconds left" as the Mayo player squared up to that late, late free.

O'Connor popped the ball over the bar at the Hill 16 end of Croke Park deep into added time at the end of Sunday's All-Ireland final but the Connacht champions were left irate when the Cavan official blew his final whistle as soon as Stephen Cluxton took his kick-out.

But the four minutes of injury time were clearly up and McQuillan insists he couldn't have been clearer in his instructions to O'Connor:

"There was absolutely no suggestion that it would be after the kick-out or anything like that," he told The Irish Independent. "I simply said 'there's 30 seconds left' and that was from the moment he asked me.

"I said it three times, I'm sure plenty of players heard me and I was on an open mic to all my match officials, including Dickie Murphy who was the overseer on Hawk-Eye, so all of those can confirm what I said.

"Immediately after the game, some Mayo players said to me that 'you said there was going to be another play', but I never said that because there is no such thing as that.

"I can't tell a player to go for goal or anything like that, I can only tell him how much time was left and that is exactly what I did.

"If the ball had gone out for a '45', I would have had to allow that to be played, but otherwise there was 30 seconds left on the clock.

"The player took some time to take the free and when I blew the final whistle there was 74 minutes and 39 seconds on my stopwatch."