SHANE BYRNE HAS urged the CFAI to examine the performance of the match officials following Letterkenny Institute of Technology’s loss in the CUFL Division 1 final this afternoon.
LyIT went down 3-2 against Dundalk Institute of Technology at the Peace Link Sports Facility in Clones, Co Monaghan, but the main talking point during and after the contest was the performance of referee Paul McGeown and, to a lesser extent, his assistants Seamus Finnegan and Frank McGonnell.
Paul McVeigh, the LyIT striker, saw a goal chalked off for offside that would’ve put his side 3-1 up before half-time, while there were countless other decisions that irked Byrne and the travelling contingent from the north-west.
There were two lengthy stoppages – firstly when when LyIT full-back Fearghal Harkin needed treatment after he was scythed down by Sean O’Connor, who received only a yellow card. Then, Dundalk goalkeeper David Kirk went down having won a free-kick after colliding with his own player.
As well as these two injuries and a substitution for each side in the second half, only one minute and 52 seconds injury time was added and this was broken up by the referee blowing for a free-kick having penalised Daire McDaid for handball before awarding a kick-out for Dundalk. Letterkenny’s players, who stopped in their tracks, were furious for the advantage rule to be implemented despite the whistle having been blown.
“It’s the worst refereeing performance I have seen in my life,” Byrne said. “I’m not making excuses. That, today, was something else. I hope for the benefit of sport and for football, that the FAI have a look at the performance of these officials. We’ve the game taped. Unless they’re blind they will see their performance was well below what it should be. We’ve lost this game but for other teams, well these boys should never get a game again.”
Listen to Byrne’s full interview with Charlie Collins below …