Sheridan: ‘It was a definite goal’

Tensions ran high in the immediate aftermath of today's Leinster SFC final between Louth and Meath at Croke Park but once the dust had settled, there was a chance for some of the main protagonists to give their views.

Meath got a controversial late goal to break Louth hearts and take a 1-12 to 1-10 victory, lifting the Delaney Cup for the first time since 2001.

Graham Reilly sent a long hopeful ball in towards the Louth square deep into injury-time.

The ball broke to Seamus Kenny whose shot was brilliantly blocked by Louth captain Paddy Keenan, but the loose ball found its way to Joe Sheridan who seemingly carried it over the goal-line.

The goal was allowed to stand and Meath claimed a dramatic win.

Louth supporters vented their anger at match referee Martin Sludden in the aftermath, with some spectators being physically and verbally abusive towards him.

Sheridan felt that it was a legitimate goal, despite Louth's obvious protestations.

"We were delighted that we got the goal in the end. It was well worked up and we were lucky to get the break in the end," he said afterwards.

"It was a definite goal. People can claim otherwise, but I was well high in over the net. I just dropped the ball and it was in the net, simple as that."

But Louth midfielder Brian White was clearly overcome with emotion as he tried to piece together how his side had agonisingly lost in the county's first Leinster final appearance in 50 years.

"To get done like that, it's a disgrace. I'm absolutely sick," he said.

"And when we see the papers and the replays (of the goal incident), it is just going to make it a lot worse...when you can't do anything about it."

Louth manager Peter Fitzpatrick was one of the first over to referee Sludden at the final whistle, and while the pair chatted on the pitch, Fitzpatrick also spent two minutes with the Tyrone official in the match officials' dressing-room afterwards.

Fitzpatrick said: "In fairness, he said to me if you want to talk to me come into the dressing room. I went over to the dressing room, I talked to him and I couldn’t get any sense at all from him. I said that, ‘if you thought it was a penalty, why didn’t you give a penalty?' The ball was thrown over the line.

"I'm not trying to be smart. What's the point in having a CCCC (Central Competitions Control Committee) if all they are going to do is penalise players? It was a big game for us.

"We took upwards of 25,000 people to Croke Park to see a bit of justice. From what I'm seeing we are getting no justice at all.

"If the GAA has any bit of sense, the CCCC or anyone else if they are going to do it urgently and do it quick."

No comment was made by provincial or national GAA officials directly in the wake of the game. However, Croke Park Stadium Director Peter McKenna stated that he will be reviewing video footage provided by RTE tomorrow morning.

"Certainly the scenes that were on TV at the end of the game where the referee was jostled by a supporter while he still was officiating (were disturbing)," said McKenna.

"We have footage of it from RTE. We will be examining it closely and we will be talking to people from that who have acted in an inappropriate way."

McKenna has also not ruled out going down the route of prosecutions via the Gardaí.

"There are areas here where you are moving from unacceptable behaviour to actual loutish stuff and I don't know if you would call it anti-social behaviour, which may require us to take prosecution."

As the game was a Leinster Council fixture and not one directly governed by the GAA nationally, a press statement is expected from the provincial body, before any comment is made by national officials.

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