McGrath: Aidan O’Shea ‘dived big time, no doubt about it’

McGrath: Aidan O’Shea ‘dived big time, no doubt about it’

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath said Aidan O’Shea dived and Joe McQuillan made a terrible decision that cost his team in their All-Ireland qualifier at MacHale Park, writes Daragh Small.

Mayo were 1-12 to 1-11 behind in the 65th minute of their Round 2B clash, before Kevin McLoughlin played a ball into the square and O’Shea went to ground under a challenge from Fermanagh full-back Che Cullen.

Mayo captain Cillian O’Connor stepped up to score the penalty and Mayo hit three more points to ease to victory, but McGrath was incensed and argued that O’Shea bought the penalty.

“I was fully confident that we could get Mayo right down to the wire as we did. We were easily the better team in the first-half and went in six points ahead.

“We knew Mayo would turn the screw in the second-half which they did. But having seen the penalty now - that was not a penalty.


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“People are ridiculing the referee on social media. Aidan O’Shea is a marvellous footballer and I’m not saying others wouldn’t have done what Aidan did but he dived big time, no doubt about it.

“The referee bought it hook, line and sinker. And that penalty being scored, it was the moment in the game that quite possibly, 95%, put the game out of our reach.

“We were leading at that stage with six or seven minutes to go. And for a penalty to be awarded as easily as that is highly disappointing.

“It shouldn’t even have been a foul, we were leading by a point so who’s to say that we would have got a score to really put Mayo in a difficult place,” said McGrath.

Fermanagh were 1-10 to 1-4 up at half-time – Sean Quigley cancelled out the goal from Alan Freeman and they hit the final four points in the half.

But Mayo showed a great determination to bounce back in the second-half, and manager Stephen Rochford never doubted that the former five-time Connacht champions would have it in them.


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“There was never a sense of panic to be perfectly honest. We knew if we could tap on a score or two, and we did that very early in the second-half,” said Rochford.

“Fermanagh responded with a point but we really felt that if we could get inside three to four point we would find ourselves in the game, especially with the elements there.

“Our bench had a really great impact. Donal Vaughan came in there added a little bit more strength and dynamism coming from the half-back line.

“Alan Dillon got in and scored two points, handled ball and made good decisions at a time when that game could have been a bit panicky.

“Leaders, Barry Moran and Seamie O’Shea really took over the middle of the field and we got good reward out of the Fermanagh kick-out,”

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