CARLOW supporters, their manager and players were left fuming at referee Joe Curley yesterday after the Meath official denied their side a potentially game-levelling free deep into injury time in extra-time during yesterday's Leinster Under 21 semi-final defeat to Dublin in Dr Cullen Park.
With Dublin a point ahead, Carlow's towering midfielder and former Sydney Swan, Brendan Murphy, bore down on the Dublin goal before going to ground 30 metres out as a swarm of blue jerseys rushed to tackle.
However, Curley - who was escorted from the pitch by gardaí as a large group of angry Carlow supporters vented their fury at the end of the game - awarded a free out for over-carrying and blew up for full time less than than 30 seconds later, much to the annoyance of Carlow manager, Luke Dempsey.
"It was an awful refereeing decision," he blasted, while Murphy himself was left astounded at the decision. "I caught the ball cleanly and was in a dangerous position," he said. "I don't know why the ref would think I'd just fall to the ground."
Dublin's 0-14 to 0-13 win means they qualify for a second successive final and they will defend their provincial crown against Westmeath in Parnell Park on Sunday April 4.