'It was just shocking really, disgraceful' - Kildare fuming after captain sent off for not wearing a gumshield
Donegal 1-15 Kildare 3-7
Donegal saw off Kildare to leave the Lilywhites on the brink of relegation but referee David Gough was the centre of attention in Ballyshannon.
Kildare captain Eoin Doyle was controversially sent off in the 16th minute when he was shown a second yellow card for not wearing a gumshield.
Doyle, who was earlier booked for a foul on Ryan McHugh, was instructed to leave the pitch and get a gumshield and while he headed to the sideline, he caught a kickout from goalkeeper Mark Donnellan.
Gough then produced a second yellow and subsequent red for Doyle.
The incident left Kildare boss Cian O'Neill fuming.
"I know exactly what happened because I was there," O'Neill told RTE after the game.
"When you think of what happened and the sequence of events, it was just shocking really, disgraceful.
"To be fair, in the first instance, Eoin's mouthguard got knocked out when he hit a hard shoulder, so the referee gave him the opportunity to go to the sideline to get one.
"But he didn't stop the game and let everyone know. No more than a bloodsub or a black card, you don't restart the game until the player is off the pitch for treatment or gets carded.
"Eoin shouted over to us, 'lads, I need a mouthguard'. He was coming over to get a mouthguard and the linesman was well aware of that because he was right beside me.
"Our goalkeeper was unaware of it, because why would he know, the linesman said he didn't even know. The ball was kicked out and, since you were four years of age, if someone kicks a ball at you your natural reaction is to go for it. The ball was kicked to Eoin as he was coming off the pitch and he just caught it.
"The referee gave him a yellow card. I told the linesman to tell the referee he was coming to get his mouthguard but there was zero communication there. Which is not good practice in my mind there.
"To compound things then, the referee did not even realise he had given him a yellow card and allowed play to carry on. I mean, how many mistakes does it take to get things right? I don't know anymore.
"If you are going to ask a player to leave the pitch for any reason, then stop the play. Let him get off the pitch and then signal to the goalkeeper to restart the play."
Scorers – Donegal: R McHugh 1-2, P McBrearty (1f) 0-4, M Murphy (1f) 0-3, H McFadden 0-2, J Brennan, O Mac Niallais, E Gallagher, N O'Donnell 0-1 each. Kildare: D Flynn 1-1, N Kelly, D Slatterty 1-0 each, K Feely (3f) 0-3, K Flynn, F Conway, J Byrne 0-1 each
Donegal – S Patton 7; E Gallagher 8, Caolan Ward 7, S McMenamin 6; R McHugh 7, P Brennan 7, T McClenaghan 6; H McFadden 7, O Mac Niallais 6; E Doherty 6, L McLoone 7, M McHugh 6; P McBrearty 6, M Murphy 7, J Brennan 6. Subs: N O'Donnell 6 for McClenaghan (h-t), N McGee 6 for Ward (50), S McBrearty 6 for Brennan (55), C McGonigle 5 for M.McHugh (60), C Thompson 5 for Mac Niallais (64), N Mullins 5 for O'Donnell (69).
Kildare – M Donnellan 6; P Kelly 6, D Hyland 6, M O'Grady 6; C O'Donoghue 6, E Doyle 5, J Byrne; K Feely 7, T Moolick 8; F Conway 7, N Kelly 7, P Cribbin 6; B McCormack 7, D Flynn 7, P Brophy 6. Subs: K Flynn 7 for O'Donoghue (h-t), D Slattery 6 for Cribbin (55), C Healy 6 for N.Kelly (60), F Dowling 5 for Conway (63), M Sherry 5 for Moolick (69)
Ref – D Gough (Meath)