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Look who's back in Croker... two weeks after rant at referee

Look who's back enjoying all the fun at Croke Park -- Brendan 'Benjy' Conlon.

Just two weeks after his controversial confrontation with referee Martin Sludden, the lifelong Louth supporter was back in the stands cheering on his team in the Championship clash.

He was there to witness his county's bruising defeat by Dublin on Saturday -- and fortunately there was no repeat of his high-publicised outburst, despite another loss for his beloved Louth.

His verbal attack on on the referee a fortnight ago was one of a series of verbal and physical assaults at the hands of angry Louth fans, which resulted in gardai having to escort the match official from the pitch.

Surprise

Other GAA fans expressed surprise at seeing that Mr Conlon had been allowed back into Croke Park so soon after the incident. Many had expected the organisation to take some kind of action after what happened, but it appears to have gone completely uncensored.

When asked afterwards what prompted his running out on the pitch following Meath's contentious Leinster title win, Mr Conlon said he felt his team was "robbed by Dick Turpin without a mask".

He explained how anger at a last-minute goal being awarded to their rivals sparked him off and led him to telling beleaguered referee Martin Sludden what he thought of him. As well as berating him, he asked him if he would "sleep well tonight".

"I had been in the Cusack Stand, and moved down to the barrier near the end when we were still leading. I was convinced we had it won," he said.

"Then when I saw Meath being awarded the goal I couldn't believe it. There was no way the goal should have ben allowed. The referee wrote it down as a goal before going to the umpires and telling them to raise the flag as a score," he added.

"I saw that alleged goal and I knew it was dubious, so I just went up to the referee and told him: 'I hope you will sleep tonight. You've done us out of the Leinster title'. I never touched him, but I was angry," Benjy explained.

Angry

However, he said that the abuse that Mr Sludden received afterwards was "bad form".

Saturday's game ended with a victory for Dublin who clocked up a score of 2-14 points to Louth's 0-13. The boys in blue will now go on to meet Tyrone in the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship.

hnews@herald.ie


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