Tuesday 12 December 2017

Brian McIver aims parting tirade at 'brutal' refs

Galway 1-11 Derry 0-8

Galway’s Fiontan O Curraoin squeezes out Derry’s Sean Leo McGoldrick during Saturday’s qualifier in Salthill, Co Galway
Galway’s Fiontan O Curraoin squeezes out Derry’s Sean Leo McGoldrick during Saturday’s qualifier in Salthill, Co Galway

Declan Rooney

As managerial retirements go, this one is high in the top ten. Brian McIver stepped down as Derry boss after three years in charge, but got a lifetime's worth of annoyance with referees off his chest as he exited.

All-Ireland SFC Qualifier Rd 3B

Conor Lane was the unfortunate official as McIver vented his fury at his decision to deny Derry a penalty eight minutes from time. To make matters worse Galway counter-attacked and scored the game's crucial goal through Danny Cummins, which sealed their spot in the last 12.


It looked a foul on Cailean O'Boyle by Finian Hanley as the Galway full-back grabbed the Lavey man around the waist, but his spectacular dive probably swayed Lane's thought process.

"Players should be deciding matches not referees, but that is a match totally decided by the referee," fumed McIver.

"I had spoken to the players during the week. Conor Lane, I said, is a referee that comes with no agenda. By God he came with some agenda today.

"We prepared well, we work as hard as anybody in the country. Had we got the breaks, that is a match that we should have been winning.

"But it is so, so tough when you are playing your football and you put a hand on a man at the other end of the field (and you are penalised).

"That has been happening regularly . . . everything in the GAA has moved on so much over the last while, yet the standard of refereeing is absolutely brutal."

McIver has grounds to be vexed with some of Lane's calls, but by and large, on a desperately hard evening for officiating, the Cork man got most judgment calls correct. He actually awarded two frees more to Derry.

Galway manager Kevin Walsh will be delighted with his day's work. His side have sidled into the last 12 of the competition - they discover their opponents in this morning's draw - and he has players back fully fit following some long term absentees.

One man to regain his jersey at the weekend was Gareth Bradshaw, and the Moycullen man was outstanding. Alongside him Gary O'Donnell got through a mountain of work, Shane Walsh made a re-appearance after his broken wrist, while Gary Sice and Cummins put in determined showings up front.

But the Galway boss has plenty to work on too. His side's first point from play only arrived from Bradshaw in first-half stoppage time. O'Donnell's great point from the right in the 51st minute restored their two-point interval lead, but it also proved to be the last point his side scored from play.

No Galway forward pointed from play, but Sice in particular kicked the frees when they came along and will be happy now to face the Connacht or Ulster runners-up in two weekends' time.

"It wasn't what was on the scoreboard for me, it was about their work-rate and how they were sticking together as a team," said Walsh.

"That can often be camouflaged at half-time when you get one or two flukey goals. That wasn't the case. We're happy that the performance up to half-time was good enough. It was about being patient against the duvet."

Derry had led by 0-3 to 0-0 after an impressive opening nine minutes. Their patient build-up and Galway's willingness to stand off them in the early action saw Eoin Bradley, Benny Heron and Danny Heavron hit points, but Galway soon took control with seven frees in a row and led by 0-8 to 0-5 at half-time.

Heavron and O'Boyle got Derry back to within a point as the Oak Leaf county enjoyed a spell of domination after the break, but Galway took over.

Yet, had O'Boyle managed to flick Bradley's pass to the net, or had he been awarded a penalty, the game would have changed.

Scorers - Galway: G Sice 0-7 (7fs), D Cummins 1-0, P Conroy 0-2 (2f) G Bradshaw, G O'Donnell 0-1. Derry: D Heavron 0-3, B Heron 0-2 (2f), E Bradley, C O'Boyle, N Forrester 0-1

Galway - B O'Donoghue 8; C Sweeney 7, F Hanley 7, J Duane 8; G Bradshaw 9, G O'Donnell 9, L Silke 7; F Ó Curraoin 7, T Flynn 6; G Sice 8, P Conroy 6, M Lundy 6; P Óg Ó Gríofa 5, D Comer 6, D Cummins 8. Subs: P Sweeney 7 for Ó Gríofa (47), S Walsh 6 for Conroy (65), S Denvir for Lundy (69), A Varley for Comer (69), M Martin for Cummins (70 BC).

Derry - T Mallon 6; O Duffy 6, D McBride 7, B Rogers 5; SL McGoldrick 7, C McKaigue 8, L McGoldrick 6; N Holly 7, F Doherty 7; B Heron 7, M Lynch 4, E Lynn 5; D Heavron 7, C O'Boyle 6, E Bradley 6. Subs: K McKaigue 7 for B Rogers (30, BC), E McGuckin 7 for Lynch (h-t), M McIver 6 for L McGoldrick (53), P Bradley 6 for N Holly (53), N Forrester 7 for Lynn (61).

Ref - C Lane (Cork)

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