The Glenullin forward was banned for one month late last week after referee Pat McEnaney was asked to review video footage of incidents from Derry’s previous tie against Tyrone at Celtic Park.
Three Tyrone players were also handed four-week suspensions thanks to the use of TV footage and Mickey Harte has been equally vocal about the process by which his players have been punished retrospectively.
“It’s a farce, to put it mildly,” said Cassidy. “It is discriminatory, extremely discriminatory.
“What you have is one team whose televised games are getting hammered and another team who is not subject to the same analysis on the videos afterwards getting away completely free in comparison to how we were treated or how Tyrone were treated.
“It’s quite clear it’s discriminatory to teams that play on TV.
“I believe (referee) John Bannon’s club has a motion put forward to Congress this year. I’m delighted that, as a referee, he’s the one who has instigated that because he clearly understands the pressures he’s brought under after a game to review decisions that he’s made, in all honesty, at the time of the game.
“That’s not to take away from fellas who have misdemeanours. The point is, if one team is going to be trawled through with video analysis on the Monday or the Tuesday let’s have them all or else have a bit of sense and wise up.”
Bradley’s unavailability was far from ideal for the Derry manager who was already operating without the forward’s brother, Paddy, and a number of other players, leaving him with what he described as a skeletal squad.
To his credit, he didn’t use those absentees to mask his side’s inadequacies and he accepted that Dublin had deserved the two points after what was, for long interminable spells, an awful evening of football.
Dublin started and finished well. They were four points to one ahead after ten minutes and scored 1-6 without reply in the closing half an hour but there were 16- and ten-minute spells where neither team managed a score.
Derry recovered from their slow start to lead by six points to four at the break but they managed only one more point on the turnaround and only two of their scores came from open play.
Dublin were no better for much of it.
Though they used the ball well during their purple patches, they spent the second and third quarters virtually camped in their own half with just one or maybe two forwards isolated at the far end.
At one point, Eamon Fennell dithered so long over a free from midfield that the referee threw it up instead.
The reason for his indecision? There was only one Dublin player in the Derry half and no-one rushing to join him.
No wonder Cassidy called it a “hash” of a game.
“Well, the tackles were going in fairly hard from both sides,” was Pat Gilroy‘s take on it. “It wasn’t easy. Nobody was getting much time on the ball. It was a dogged, messy game but it’s great to come out on the right side of those.”
Both managers pointed to Dublin’s superior fitness as the reason for the final scoreline but the introduction of Bernard Brogan with 20 minutes to go when Dublin were still a point behind was just as noteworthy.
The All Star kicked as many wides – three – as he did points but he provided a spark and an impetus up front and it was his pass which set the impressive Kevin McManamon on his way to the 64th-minute goal which sealed the win.
It was a goal that stemmed from Derry’s chronic habit of coughing up possession – they did so over 30 times – but, as both Cassidy and Gilroy pointed out, better to be making those bloopers now than in four or five months‘ time.
Scorers for Dublin: K McManamon 1-1, B Brogan 0-3 (2f), E Fennell 0-2, R McConnell 0-1, M McAuley 0-1, B Kelly 0-1, D Nelson 0-1, B McManamon 0-1.
Scorers for Derry: J Kielt 0-4 (3f), M Lynch 0-2f, A McLaughlin 0-1.
Subs for Dublin: D Nelson for J Brogan 35, B McManamon for Diamond 35, D Kelly for Hubbard 49, B Brogan for B Kelly 51, P Casey for K McManamon 70.
Subs for Derry: M McGoldrick for McAlarney 22, M Craig for McArtney 30, S Bradley for Lynn 41, B Mullan for O’Boyle 49, L Moore for S Bradley 59.
Referee: P Hughes (Armagh).