Garryowen's Tierney up in arms over ref's penalty call
Garryowen were left fuming as they saw their Munster Senior Cup dreams dashed by a controversial penalty decision in the final play of extra-time.
With the game tied at 6-6, the Limerick side were seconds away from winning their 39th title as they had scored the game's first points. But referee Kieran Barry awarded Cork Con a penalty after apparently deciding that a Garryowen official had attempted to slow down the taking of their own line-out.
Con full-back Chris Quinn held his nerve to land the resulting penalty, which proved to be the last kick of the game.
Garryowen head coach and former Munster and Ireland international Tom Tierney was livid with the referee's decision that left the crowd inside Thomond Park dumbfounded.
"I don't understand whether they (the officials) know what happened themselves. We can always have a go at the referees but that wasn't just an isolated incident. There were a few areas where he was very, very poor.
"At the end of the day, it's my job and when you're up against things like that, it makes it very difficult. We felt we were robbed, to be blunt about it, especially when you don't get an explanation afterwards."
Tierney is adamant that the referee had not given his side any warnings about time wasting prior to awarding the contentious last-minute penalty.
According to the IRB law 10.2 (b): 'A player must not intentionally waste time'. The punishment for such an offence is deemed to be a 'free kick'.
There was no suggestion that a Garryowen player had attempted to slow the play down but the referee appeared to punish an official who had come onto the pitch during a break in play.
"The referee didn't give any warning about time wasting. Normally you give a free-kick at worst for delay of time at a line-out. I've been told that he motioned for a free-kick and then put it to a full penalty," Tierney lamented
The former scrum-half, who won eight international caps including four starts at the 1999 World Cup, is in his second season as head coach of Garryowen and he admitted that he had never seen a decision like it before.
"For such a great competition, to have this happen is very hard to take. It's not the way a Senior Cup final should be decided upon. We were robbed."
Cork Con head coach Tom Mulcahy insisted his oppenents were trying to run down the clock.
"It wasn't clear what was going but they were delaying and delaying it (the lineout). From what I gather, there was an official on the field and he was told by the referee to leave the field."
The Munster Branch did not want to comment on the matter when contacted last night.