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Portlaoise manager rails at ref

ONE of the talking points on Sunday afternoon was the abuse heaped on referee Michael Duffy at half-time as he made his way to the dressing room.
Portlaoise manager John Mulligan was clearly irate as the Sligo official left the field but afterwards he said the first-minute sending off of his son wasn’t the issue. “All I asked was what do you have to do to give a proper hand-pass. He was saying we were throwing the ball. In fairness, he has a job to do and he wasn’t going to entertain me.”
He claimed that Duffy seemed to have been implementing the experimental rules being used in the National League. He also disagreed with the first red card.
“The game was on, the guy went for a tackle and he caught him a bit high. It was certainly a foul, maybe a yellow card. If the ref is going to be consistent, and I don’t want to sound like a bad loser, the Kilmurry-Ibrickane number 14 (Odran O’Dwyer) runs in, hops off one of our lads, that was a straight red. If we’re going to be consistent in the GAA, let’s be consistent, let’s not have two laws and a referee playing his own rules.”
While the incident at half-time attracted the attention of almost everyone at the Gaelic Grounds, it wasn’t that serious, according to Mulligan.
“He gave two big frees against us when we were attacking and I just asked him about it. Maybe that didn’t add to the situation, maybe I shouldn’t have gone to him but people get hot and bothered at games and these things happen. There was no punches thrown, there’s no one dead and we’ll all be able to go to work in the morning and that’s it.”
He didn’t begrudge the Clare champions their victory. “I hate harping on about the referee, this is Kilmurry’s day and fair play to them. They gave a great exhibition of football and got some great scores. I don’t want to detract from that. There are two separate issues – one was the referee while the other was the football and Kilmurry’s performance. It’s their day and I hope they go all the way.
“Sport is sport, if you can’t take your defeat you shouldn’t be involved. If everything was straightforward, no one would have any interest in sport. You have your ups and downs and that’s the way it goes. I have a great fondness for Clare and I hope they do it, because it’d give Clare football such a boost. I really do admire them, they’re a really passionate club. We’ve watched a lot of their videos and you can see the bond they have with their supporters, it’s a real close-knit community. You just have to admire them.”
The St Patrick’s Day parade in Portlaoise was moved to prevent a clash with the All-Ireland final but Mulligan said the decision had nothing to do with the club and that there was no question of his players not taking a side from Clare seriously.
“All this rubbish about the St Patrick’s Day parade being cancelled in Portlaoise, that was probably used for motivation in Clare but it had absolutely nothing to do with us. The first thing we heard about it was when we saw it in our local paper. From the word go we were fierce upset about it. As regards complacency, no way, end of story. They’re a great bunch of chaps in that dressing room, they respect everybody and the last thing we wanted was an insult like that to the likes of Kilmurry.”
Regardless of the refereeing, he felt the Clare and Munster champions had deserved the win, he added.
“We were beaten fair and square by a better team on the day, make no mistake about that.”

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