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Chaotic scenes mar final win

CONNACHT yesterday became the first province to complete its senior club football championship, but the story won’t end there as an investigation is certain to follow into the chaotic scenes that followed St Brigid’s controversial 0-11 to 0-10 victory over Corofin at Kiltoom yesterday.

Mayo referee Liam Devenney and his fellow match officials were surrounded and jostled after the full-time whistle by Corofin supporters venting their spleen over a disallowed goal and several other decisions.

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There were reports that the referee and one of his umpires were struck as they attempted to leave the pitch. It required the intervention of stewards - assisted by former Roscommon goalkeeper Shane Curran, who is one of the St Brigid’s coaches – to escort the officials to safety.

A Connacht Council spokesperson has already confirmed that they will await the referee’s report and take “whatever action is necessary.”

Officials will also study video footage, armed with TG4’s ‘live’ footage of the game. The same cameras suggested that Corofin had reason to complain over the referee’s earlier decision to disallow a Mike Farragher goal for a supposed square ball infringement, shortly before half-time.

The Galway champions were also aggrieved over a free count that heavily favoured the home side, by nearly two to one, while Devenney brandished 14 yellow cards in total.

None of this, of course, remotely justifies the crazy post-match scenes but Corofin captain Kieran Fitzgerald was later scathing in his assessment of the referee.

“The referee was a disgrace, in my opinion,” the former Galway defender claimed. “He was terrible. We are bitterly disappointed. We worked so hard and I know that Brigid’s did as well.

“All you want is fair play and I know this sounds like sour grapes, but I was bitterly disappointed in the referee today.

“Fair play to Brigid’s, they won and they are in the (All-Ireland) quarter-final in two weeks’ time and as a Connacht team, I hope they go all the way.

“But when you are playing a game at this level and you put in so much work, at the end of the day you would like a bit of fair play. I feel myself, as captain of Corofin, that we did not get it,” he concluded.

His manager, Brian Silke, believed the disallowed goal was “legitimate” but, as for the unruly post-match protests, he remarked: “Referees have to do their jobs. If there were any incidents, I would be very disappointed with that.”

St Brigid’s manager Noel O’Brien did not see the controversial incidents at the end.

“I was with TG4 down the other end. I am not avoiding the issue - I didn’t see anything. I don’t like it. They (match officials) have a difficult job to do and a thankless job.”

On the pitch, Corofin dominated the first half and their 0-7 to 0-4 interval lead could have been even greater if they had made more of a few goal chances. But Brigid’s belatedly took control on the restart, outscoring their opponents 0-5 to no score during a third quarter which included several moments of magic from veteran star Frankie Dolan.


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