Sunday 22 July 2018

Cavan boss 'very disappointed' that ref brandished two reds after the final whistle

Cavan 1-14 Down 0-15

Conor Bradley of Cavan in action against Ryan McAleenan of Down. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Conor Bradley of Cavan in action against Ryan McAleenan of Down. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Orla Bannon

Cavan pair Dara McVeety and Conor Moynagh are set to miss this weekend's All-Ireland third round SFC qualifier for red cards picked up in a post-match brawl at Brewster Park.

Referee Cormac Reilly also showed a straight red to Down's Anthony Doherty after the unsavoury scenes involving a large number of players and mentors which started after the final whistle.

A general view of a fracca breaking out after the final whistle. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
A general view of a fracca breaking out after the final whistle. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Cavan will analyse the footage before deciding whether to appeal.

"I'm very disappointed because when the final whistle goes, the game is over as far as I'm concerned," said Cavan manager Mattie McGleenan.

"I don't know what happened but I am very disappointed that the referee has seen fit to give red cards to two of our best players. We will look at the video and see where it takes us."

Cavan will be relieved to be in the hat for this morning's draw because they were second best for long spells on Saturday night.

Gearoid McKiernan of Cavan in action against Caolan Mooney of Down. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Gearoid McKiernan of Cavan in action against Caolan Mooney of Down. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Fourteen-man Down bounced back from a hammering by Donegal in the Ulster semi-final to produce their best display of the year. They had every reason to feel like the best team lost.

They battled bravely despite the loss of Connaire Harrison and Kevin McKernan to black cards in the first half, while Caolan Mooney limped off injured and Ryan Johnston got a straight red midway through the second half. That was on top of a season-ending knee injury for Donal O'Hare in a recent club game.

Despite all that, it still took a superb save from James Farrelly in the fifth minute of stoppage time to deny them.

"There was a lot of questions asked of them and I thought they answered all those questions," said Mourne boss Eamonn Burns.

Brendan McArdle, centre, and Sean Dornan of Down in action against Niall Murray of Cavan. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Brendan McArdle, centre, and Sean Dornan of Down in action against Niall Murray of Cavan. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

Burns wouldn't be drawn on his future at the end of a third year in charge. "It went against us today but only by the kick of a ball. We'll take stock and see where we are."

Cavan started brightly and led 0-6 to 0-2 after 13 minutes. But Down scored eight of the 10 remaining points in the half to lead 0-10 to 0-8 and picked up where they left off in the second half as the dominant side.

Sean Dornan put them 0-13 to 0-9 up before Johnston's red and a lucky goal from Gearoid McKiernan swung the momentum Cavan's way.

Ryan Johnston's red card in the 49th minute was a huge blow as the Mourne men were leading by four points - 0-13 to 0-9. Soon after McKiernan's attempt at a point dropped short and Down goalkeeper Shane Harrison spilled the ball into the net.

Niall Madine of Down in action against Niall Murray, left, and Conor Bradley of Cavan. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile
Niall Madine of Down in action against Niall Murray, left, and Conor Bradley of Cavan. Photo by Barry Cregg/Sportsfile

That got Cavan back into it and they picked up the pace, with two Niall Murray points and a fisted effort from Padraig Faulkner at a crucial stage.

Down had one last chance when Darren O'Hagan cut inside from the left and drilled the ball low but Farrelly got down well.

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