Friday 6 December 2019

Furious Fenlon attacks standard of Europa referees

Ruaidhri O'Connor

Ruaidhri O'Connor

PAT FENLON has launched a stinging attack on the standard of refereeing in both legs of Bohemians' Europa League exit to Olimpija Ljubljana.

The Gypsies boss was furious with a succession of decisions that went against his team and felt the visitors' winger Davor Skerjanc deserved a red card for his part in an incident that saw defender Liam Burns taken off with a bloody nose.

Bohs lost out in the first leg as a result of two goals from questionable decisions by Portuguese referee Carlos Xistra and Fenlon was equally disappointed with the display of Italian official Paolo Silvio Mazzoleni at Dalymount.

"The referee was shocking," he claimed. "You'd think with referees coming from Portugal and Italy they'd be decent, but it's just like watching our own I suppose. They're bad all over the world.

"We're not looking for excuses. I thought we did enough to get something out of the game or at least bring it to extra-time.

"I thought it (the Burns incident) was a bad tackle. To be honest, I thought it was a red card. Burnsy got the ball away and your man went right through him.

"There's no recourse with any referees, either with UEFA or here -- they're all the same. You go in to see the referee last week in Ljubljana and it's just arrogance. So we're better off getting on with it."

Fenlon then turned his ire on the FAI over their decision to postpone their clash with UCD, which was scheduled for this weekend.

The reason given was to help Bohemians in Europe, but that didn't wash with the manager who wanted to play the game tomorrow.

UCD were available to play last night but could not fulfil the fixture today or tomorrow. They believed they had reached an agreement with Bohs on the postponement and some of their players arranged holidays.

"The disappointing thing for me this week is the way we've been treated in relation to the UCD game," Fenlon said. "For the League to send out a statement saying that the game has been cancelled in preparation for Europe is scandalous as far as I'm concerned because we wanted the game played.

"If you look at the statement, why are they sending Pat's to Sligo on Saturday if they're trying to help the clubs?"

Fenlon did have some positive words for his hastily assembled squad who did everything they could to stay in Europe, only for Ger O'Brien's unfortunate own goal to end their hopes.

"They're brilliant," he said of his players. "The atmosphere in the dressing-room is fantastic.

"The young lads are keeping older fellas on the bench and there's a good blend, a good mix. There's a lot of respect from the younger lads for the older lads. It's a great way for the young fellas to learn their trade.

"People say we have signed a few senior pros, but we've signed good ones. We have good characters in the dressing-room. They are top-class professionals who are helping the young lads along.

"If we play like we did against Olimpija, we won't be far away from beating anybody in Ireland. I think we showed that we're a match for anybody if we play at that tempo."

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, tickets to Ireland's against Scotland in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Irish Independent

The Left Wing: The problem with the Champions Cup, the Stephen Larkham effect and trouble in Welsh rugby

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport