Connor sees red with refs once again
GALWAY UNITED manager Sean Connor has called on the League of Ireland's top brass to intervene following his club's latest run-in with Cork official Anthony Buttimer.
But the FAI have strongly denied an allegation from the Connacht club that Buttimer requested to be appointed as the man in the middle for last Friday's FAI Ford Cup quarter-final between Shamrock Rovers and Galway.
Buttimer sent off visiting goalkeeper Barry Ryan for dissent 13 minutes into the game, with the Clare man adamant that he was fouled by James Chambers in the build-up to Thomas Stewart's opening goal.
The Hoops strolled on to a 6-0 success and, while Connor acknowledged that it would have been difficult for his charges with 11 men, the decisons made by the referee left him seething.
Galway have had some run-ins with Buttimer already this campaign, and requested a change of referee ahead of the cup showdown.
"When we found out it was Buttimer, I asked the chief executive to make a phone call. Anthony Buttimer requested this game ... referees are dictating what games they referee," claimed the Galway boss.
Asked to elaborate on where he had garnered this information, Connor replied: "I was told by my chief executive (Nick Leeson); I'm happy to go with that."
In response, an FAI spokesman said: "Appointments are made on an independent basis and it is absolutely untrue to claim that any referee is appointed to a fixture at their own request.
"A referees assessor attends each Airtricity League and FAI Ford Cup fixture and files a report on the referee's performance. This report is filed to the FAI referee department and helps to guide future appointments."
Connor acknowledged that a player of Ryan's experience should have controlled himself better in the wake of Rovers' controversial opening goal. Yet he believed that his captain was entitled to query the decision with Buttimer. "The referee turned his back and walked away not interested in talking with Barry," he claimed.
Ryan now faces a lengthy ban that could impact upon Galway's survival chances, and Connor stated: "I remember meeting Fran Gavin a few years ago in his guise as head of the players' union, and he had a lot to say then. I'd like to hear what he has to say now."