Cassidy vents fury at ref calls
WHILE Sligo hero Ciaran Kelly went into doping control for a stint that was longer than his match contribution, Shelbourne captain David Cassidy paced around the mixed zone with the look of a man with plenty on his mind.
The Bit O'Red faithful believed there was an element of fate about the manner in which Kelly was sprung from the bench to taste further cup glory.
And Cassidy also had a sense that Sligo's name was on the cup.
"I think if we had a fair game, we could have done a lot better," said the Shels skipper, who was stunned by Richie Winter's dismissal of Barry Clancy for simulation.
"Some of the decisions were laughable, absolutely ridiculous. They (Sligo) have done exactly the same thing in the second half -- diving in the corner, if you call it diving -- and he hasn't done anything."
Cassidy's anger didn't stop there.
"And then the decision to tell us they were taking penos down the Sligo end -- down in front of all their fans -- and not give us a choice," the Dubliner continued. "It's amazing that television can break the rules of football."
The sight of angry players crowding around officials is never an attractive one. Critics of football point to rugby, and suggest that a captain should be nominated to do the talking.
Cassidy, the Shels man with the armband, explained that he tried to speak to Winter.
"I talked to him a few times during the game and he told me to get away," he said. "The referees want respect off players. You try and give them respect by talking to them, and then they won't speak to you."
Naturally, his demeanour contrasted sharply with Kelly, who has cemented his place in Sligo folklore.
It was only his 10th appearance of the season, and the Mayoman had an idea it was coming as the minutes ticked by.
He spent most of extra-time in a warm-up area, with Joseph Ndo making a few wisecracks to lighten the mood. Then, before the shootout, he raced down the tunnel to say a little prayer.
"On Friday, we'd a penalty competition and I saved five or six in a row," he said. "That kind of set it in concrete that it would happen if we went to penalties.
"I'm just happy for the town because it was starved of success, and it would have been an absolute shame, a crime, if we didn't win a trophy this year."
Instead, the feeling of injustice belonged to Cassidy and his team-mates.