Cian O'Neill - unhappy with referee
Donegal managed to get their first league points in Fr. Tierney Park with a two point win over Kildare, but the big talking point from the game was the second yellow card shown to the Kildare captain, Eoin Doyle in the 14th minute.
After the game the Kildare manager was extremely annoyed with the entire incident and felt that his side were dealt a severe blow.
“Bitterly disappointed. We came up here with strong intentions and started the game in that regard. But once again our execution and our accuracy in front of goals in the first half when we had a strong breeze. Donegal were very accurate in the second half when they had the breeze when they had it at their backs; we weren’t in the first half and ultimately on the scoreboard that’s what cost us, as well as a fortuitous goal from their end in the second half too.”
However, it was having to play with 14 men for much of the game which really exercised the Kildare boss and he explained in detail what happened before Eoin Doyle was put from the field.
“I know exactly what happened because I was there. When you think of what happened, the sequence of events was shocking really, disgraceful.
“To be fair to the referee in the first instance, Eoin’s mouthguard got knocked out when he hit a hard shoulder early on, so the referee gave him the opportunity to go to the line to get one, but didn’t stop the game to let everyone know, no more than a blood sub, no more than a black card. You don’t restart the game until the player is off the pitch, whether that be for treatment or because he got carded.
“Eoin was running over to us. He shouted out, ‘I need a mouthguard’, so he was coming over to get his mouthguard and the linesman was well aware of that.
“And then our goalkeeper didn’t realise that was happening; wouldn’t have known because the referee didn’t signal. And the ball was kicked out and no more than anyone, since you’re four years of age, when someone kicks the ball at you, your natural reaction is to go for it. The ball was kicked over to Eoin as he raced off the field and he just caught it, and the referee gave him a yellow card for that.
“I said it to the linesman that you know he was coming to get his mouthguard. There was zero communication there, which is just not good practice.
“And just to compound that the referee didn’t realise that he had already given him a yellow card and let play go on. Look, how many mistakes does it take to get things right. I just don’t know anymore,” said O’Neill.
“If you are going to ask a player to remove himself from the pitch, for whatever reason, blood sub, black card or in this case gumshield; then stop the game. Then have him go off the pitch and signal to the goalkeeper to continue play, but to let play continue while the man is running off the pitch, you know, show me a rule in the rulebook that tells you that that makes sense,” said O’Neil.