Friday 14 December 2018

O'Donnell: Spat with Bradley won't sour our relationship

O'Donnell knows Bradley from their time with Arsenal but that didn't stop them squaring off. Photo: Sportsfile
O'Donnell knows Bradley from their time with Arsenal but that didn't stop them squaring off. Photo: Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

Stephen O'Donnell has brushed off his sideline spat with Stephen Bradley that caused a mass melee involving both benches in Dundalk's enthralling FAI Cup semi-final win over Shamrock Rovers on Tuesday night.

The incident occurred during the first half of extra-time when the Dundalk skipper became embroiled in a heated exchanged with the Rovers boss that resulted in unsavoury scenes.

The game was halted for several minutes before Rovers' fitness coach Darren Dillon was sent to the stands. O'Donnell knows Bradley from their time with Arsenal but that didn't stop them squaring off.

"I think that's the story set for Dundalk and Rovers over the next few years, there is a rivalry there," O'Donnell said.

"It was high-octane stuff and it probably boiled over a bit on the sideline but it's enjoyable, even those little scuffles are enjoyable I think for people to watch.

"I've known Brads since we were over in London at Arsenal. I've known him since I was 15, I don't think that's going to sour the relationship. I'm playing for Dundalk, he's managing Rovers, it's the way it is.

"We normally have a good relationship. Ah look, these things happen, that's what happens in big games. We were dying to get to the Aviva, thankfully we came out on top."

Asked if he was worried that he may be given his marching orders for his part in the incident, O'Donnell responded: "No I didn't do anything, it was only a bit of shoving. If I went, then 25 other lads would have went. There was nothing in it really. We all shook hands after the match, these things happen in the heat of the moment."

Stephen Kenny was naturally delighted that his side made it to their third consecutive Cup final and he also praised the discipline that he felt his side showed.

"I think my players were excellent on the night, the way they kept their discipline," the Lilywhites boss insisted.

"Our discipline has been the cornerstone of our success. I think, without trying to sound too pious in relation to that, we've won the fair play award every year and hopefully we win it again this year.

"I think it's very important to who we are and the reason it helps us win trophies is because we can keep 11 men on the pitch all the time. I think that's really important. I think my players' discipline is excellent overall."

Both clubs must wait to see if they will face any punishment for the incident.

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