Harps angry with
officiating in Drogheda draw but still believe

Harps angry with 
officiating in Drogheda draw but still believe
Both Finn Harps captain Kevin McHugh and manager Peter Hutton were critical of the officiating as their team drew 1-1 in the FAI Cup quarter-final on Friday night.

Both Finn Harps captain Kevin McHugh and manager Peter Hutton were critical of the officiating as their team drew 1-1 in the FAI Cup quarter-final on Friday night.

However, both insist Harps are still in with a shout of a place in the semi-final ahead of Monday’s replay ay Hunky Dorys Park.

“It’s heart-wrenching losing a game like that in the last couple of minutes,” McHugh said.

Harps lost Ciaran Coll to a straight red card for a shove on David Cassidy but were furious as a lot of off-the-ball incidents went unpunished.

Damian McNulty was missing two teeth after the game and Michael Funston was being treated for a suspected broken nose.

“Even when we were down to 10 men we were comfortable in our shape.,” McHugh added. “It was never a sending off.

“There was loads of talking points and a lot of them didn’t go in our favour.

“It’s disgraceful. The referee decided to do nothing and the fourth official decided to do nothing so we feel a little hard done by.

“We’ve two men in there now - one has a suspected broken nose and there’s another man missing teeth. Ciaran Coll got sent off for running across a man.

“But we’re not going to make excuses.”

Manager Hutton, who was sent to the stand following his protestations at a number of incidents, sang from a similar hymn sheet.

“It was a feisty encounter,” he said. “We’re bitterly disappointed we didn’t see it through till the end and get ourselves into the semi-final.

But it’s not over yet. We will go again on Monday night.

“To a man they battled and gave a great account of themselves. They’re shattered in there, mentally as much as physically given that they were so close.

“But we can’t be too despondent as we’re still in the cup.

“I thought some of the decisions were dubious to say to least.

“I contested the decisions and got punished for it. I made my point too loudly. I had to stand up for my team.

“We didn’t get enough credit from the officials. Some of the decisions were baffling and the manner they gave the decisions repeatedly was very frustrating for everyone.

“The players battled gamely, everyone deserves credit. I’m gutted for them.

“Drogheda got a late equaliser and know they got out of jail here tonight. They’re still favourites but were favourites coming here as well.”