Thursday 22 February 2018

Mahon 'glad week over' as three see red


St Patrick's Ath 2, UCD 2

After all the chaos and controversy of the last week, there was always going to be some after-effect for St Patrick's Athletic. But manager Pete Mahon may not have expected so much fire and brimstone in yesterday's home clash with UCD.

Despite undeservedly leading 2-0 at half-time, after the Students had utterly dominated, Pat's proceeded to throw away the lead in a second half in which three players - one UCD and two from the Saints - were sent off.

Two of the decisions were contentious and Mahon sprinted out of his dugout to stop his players confronting referee Derek Tomney at the end of the game.

"I'm just glad the week is over," Mahon said. "It was difficult for everybody. Mentally it was draining and I think you could see that in our performance today.

"It was very flat. We were really lucky to be going in at half-time in front. UCD were the better team and the least they deserved was a draw."

Indeed, UCD had already opened up Pat's a few times before the home side took a sucker-punch lead after just two minutes, as Jake Carroll crossed for Sean O'Connor to easily volley home.

And after Graham Rusk wasted two gilt-edged chances -- goalkeeper Gary Rogers superbly saving twice from point-blank range and Evan McMillan clearing off the line -- the Students were stunned again two minutes before half-time. David McMillan scored one of the goals of the season with a drive into the top corner to make it 2-0.

After the "week from hell" though, it only took two minutes for Pat's to descend back into the depths. On 67 minutes, a short Connor Kenna back-pass allowed Darren Meenan to clip the ball around Rogers, forcing the 'keeper to bring him down. Referee Tomney had no choice but to send Rogers off, with Dean Marshall stepping up to fire home the penalty.

And, with the 10 men in disarray, an immediate Sean Harding cross left Rusk with an easy header to equalise.

In stoppage-time, though, the game descended into farce. First, UCD's Meenan appeared to ironically clap Tomney for a booking, leading the referee to dish out a second yellow. Moments later, Pat's sub Shane McFaul attempted to take a quick free-kick -- leading to a second yellow for him too and outrage all over Richmond Park.

"I don't have a problem with Gary (Rogers) getting sent off," Mahon said. "The other two, I'm not even commenting. It's just the way football has gone now. We've had so much (hassle) in Europe with red tape before the game. It's unbelievable. They may be the laws but surely sometimes a bit of common sense (is needed).

"Referees now have this authoritarian air. It's kind of 'us and them'. We're all in the same game. But then again, football in this country, everybody pulls apart. Nobody helps each other.

"There's a lot of cynicism. Again, I can't say too much here because you know what will happen. I'll be up in Abbottstown."

ST PATRICK'S ATHLETIC -- Rogers; Pender, Kenna, E McMillan, Carroll; O'Connor (Bennion 69), Mulcahy, Bradley (Crowley 40), Doyle; Kavanagh (McFaul 45); D McMillan.

UCD -- Barron; Harding, O'Connor, Leahy, Nangle; Meenan, Corry, Creevy (Russell 65), Marshall; Rusk, O'Connor.

REF -- D Tomney (Dublin).

Irish Independent

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