Thursday 14 December 2017

Keegan rejects Shiels' claims over pitch tactics

Galway United manager Shane Keegan. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Galway United manager Shane Keegan. Photo: David Maher/Sportsfile
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Galway United manager Shane Keegan has agreed with Derry City counterpart Kenny Shiels' assertion that his club's pitch is not up to scratch but laughed off the suggestion that it is a tactic to unsettle visiting sides.

Shiels tore into the state of the Eamonn Deacy Park surface after Monday night's scoreless draw between the sides, describing it as 'horrible' and a 'deterrent' to playing football. And he hinted that the conditions were set up to hinder his own side's style of play.

"What we have here is a beautiful building, beautiful complex, great infrastructure, lovely dressing rooms and lovely stands. It's absolutely brilliant, but the League of Ireland needs to get their act together," said Shiels.

"It was the same two weeks ago when we came here [for the EA Sports Cup]. It was the same when we went to Sligo. The pitch wasn't watered. We cannot produce quality on a pitch like that.

"I don't know if it's by accident or design. It certainly looked like it was designed to stop us playing.

"They don't care about the football pitch. Why do they not care? Somebody tell me. I'm so angry about the condition of the pitch. The Galway supporters were deprived of better football. It stopped us from winning."

But Keegan has taken issue with some of Shiels' observations, while conceding that the surface is below-par. He says that improved conditions would help his own side.

The Galway boss says that the pitch was watered across the weekend and in the hours before the rescheduled encounter.

However, the problem for United is that they do not own the ground - it belongs to the Galway FA - and the venue has been busy in recent weeks including a number of matches over the weekend.

"It wasn't good," said Keegan yesterday. "We play football so I don't see why a bad surface would be any more of a disadvantage to them as it was to us. As manager, I was unhappy with the pitch but we all understand the situation and our groundsman has his work cut out."

Keegan believes that Shiels' outburst has taken attention away from a poor refereeing decision that aided Derry.

Their 'keeper Ger Doherty came outside the area to block an early Pádraic Cunningham shot with his hands but he managed to escape with a yellow card from referee Rob Hennessey.

"That is probably the worst call I've ever been involved in at any level," said Keegan.

Meanwhile, former Cork defender Brian Lenihan has agreed a new one-year contract at Hull City with the option of another.

Injuries have affected Lenihan since his move to England in 2014.

Ex-Shamrock Rovers man Enda Stevens is on his way to Championship newcomers Sheffield United after starring for League Two champions Portsmouth.

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