IT Tralee manager Liam Brosnan accused the referee of 'targeting' their Kerry county players as the college exited the Sigerson Cup with 12 men and lost Kerry defender Gavin Crowley to injury.
Slaughtneil and Derry forward Shane McGuigan top-scored with 0-10, including nine frees, for the 2017 Sigerson Cup winners St Mary's who advance to a quarter-final meeting with Maynooth.
Tralee were aggrieved with some of those frees, particularly in the final quarter, with St Mary's scoring the last five points while they lost three players in the final 10 minutes at St Teresa's pitch west Belfast yesterday.
Tralee captain Crowley scored a superb point in the third minute but hobbled out after just 10 minutes and had to be helped back to the dressing-rooms with his thigh iced and strapped.
The Kerry player is now rated extremely doubtful for Sunday's league trip to Cavan.
“It's a heavy dead leg above the knee,” confirmed boss Brosnan, “it has started to loosen up but he's doubtful for the weekend, no doubt about that”.
Brosnan hit out at Monaghan referee Martin McNally, who dismissed Dara Moynihan for two yellow cards with 10 minutes to go.
Defenders Brian Fitzgerald and DJ Murphy picked up black cards in the final few minutes.
Brosnan claimed: “his performance didn't lead to the result but it didn't help, we're not happy with it and I think he targeted our county players”.
“Our first county player (Crowley) went off badly injured and there wasn't even a free for it.
“Dara was given two yellow cards, for what we don't know, and we didn't get the frees we deserved.
“I won't take it away from St Mary's because they're a good side, well organised, and we will take our beating.
“But we're very frustrated.
“The referee showed up 15 minutes late, the teams were teams ready to go and he marches in and gives a performance like that.”
McNally declined to comment but it's understood both teams were given due notice the game would throw-in slightly later than scheduled.
David Clifford, the 2018 Young Player of the Year, was watching from the sidelines but unable to help his Tralee team-mates as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury.
Brosnan estimates he will return to Kerry at the end of March.
“Clifford is with us all year but he's a huge loss on the field, of course.
“He's hoping to get back into contact and will probably be back (for Kerry) towards the end of the league.”
Tralee's Jack Savage hit with 0-8 from frees and the visitors scored four points in a row before half time to creep ahead at 1-6 to 1-5 at the break.
Conor Keane scored Tralee's goal in the eighth minute when he rounded the 'keeper and blasted the ball into the roof of the net.
St Mary's replied five minutes later with the superb Jarlath Og Burns a growing force around midfield.
His run down the left flank set up their goal, with McGuigan involved and Stephen McConville's fist pass across to the back post palmed into the net by Derryman Niall Toner.
It was all level at 1-10 apiece with five minutes remaining.
Tralee were aggrieved at some of referee Martin McNally's decisions in the final quarter, and McGuigan punished almost every free given St Mary's way.
St Mary's were a point up when Moynihan was dismissed with 10 minutes to go and were three up when Fitzgerald picked up a black card in the last minute of normal time. Murphy joined him in the sin-bin in one of the last plays of the game.
Scorers for St Mary's – S McGuigan 0-10 (9f), N Toner 1-0, T Sludden 0-2, A Duffy, J Og Burns, R Coleman 0-1 each
Scorers for IT Tralee – J Savage 0-8 (8f), C Keane 1-0, G Crowley, D Moynihan 0-1 each
St Mary's: M Reid (Down); L Rafferty (Tyrone), C Dillon (Armagh), M Rooney (Down); C Byrne (Tyrone), R McCusker (Tyrone), A Duffy (Armagh); J Og Burns (Armagh), L Devlin (Down); S McConville (Down), R Coleman (Tyrone), A Boyle (Armagh); N Toner (Armagh), S McGuigan (Derry), C McKinney (Armagh)
Subs: T Sludden (Tyrone) for Boyle (40), C McAllister (Derry) for Rafferty (49)
IT Tralee: C Hurley (Kerry); T Kearns (Wicklow), G Crowley (Kerry), B Fitzgerald (Kerry); DJ Murphy (Kerry), S Cronin (Kerry), D Kennedy (Limerick); L Kearney (Kerry), G Horan (Kerry); D Moynihan (Kerry), J Savage (Kerry), A McCarthy (Kerry); J Duggan (Kerry), M O'Shea (Kerry), C Keane (Kerry)
Subs: M Potts (Kerry) for Crowley (10), C Byrne (Limerick) for McCarthy (55), J Morgan for Duggan (55)
Referee: Martin McNally (Monaghan)