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Farrell calls for level playing field


Meath's Brian Farrell

Meath's Brian Farrell

Meath's Brian Farrell

Meath may be paying the price for last year's Leinster football final fiasco, judging by the recent important decisions that have gone against them.

That's the view of Brian Farrell, the attacker who is suspended for tomorrow's qualifier against Louth in Kingspan Breffni Park after picking up a red card in the Leinster quarter-final defeat against Kildare.

Farrell failed to have that red card turned over at a Central Hearings Committee meeting last week, the latest in a series of decisions which he feels have gone against the county this season.

"When you take the decisions that have gone against us -- Graham Geraghty's disallowed goal, my sending off and then the failure to have that overturned -- you just don't feel anything is going to go your way with these marginal calls," he said.

"You have to ask the question, is the Leinster final subconsciously in people's minds when these tight decisions are being made?"

Farrell said he was never confident of having his red card overturned for that very reason, despite the strength of the case he felt he had. He was sent off in the second half for an altercation with Kildare wing-back Emmett Bolton and was suspended for four weeks for striking. The common view was that the red card was harsh and the decision not to rescind it even harsher.

"Two other players from other counties (Donegal's Michael Murphy and Monaghan's Dick Clerkin) had their red cards rescinded on the night, but mine stood. I don't feel what I did merited a four-week ban, but I have to accept it now.

"I'd also have to say that even if Graham's goal stood the last day, we probably wouldn't have beaten Kildare. They were a better team.

"We would accept that decisions go for and against you in games and in committee rooms. But all the decisions are going against us lately and I wonder if people are conscious of giving Meath anything after last year's Leinster final. All we want is a level playing field, just as any team does."

Farrell reiterated the common view held by his colleagues that they were put in an impossible position after last year's Leinster final. "It should never have been down to us as to whether there should have been a replay. The mistake was made by officials and it should have been cleared up by officials," he said.

Meath carry a number of injuries into tomorrow night's match, with the participation of Stephen Bray, centre-back Bryan Menton and Graham Geraghty all in doubt.

Irish Independent