Antrim remain unbeaten as Offaly boss raps ref over Sullivan red card

Antrim maintained their winning start to the 2012 Allianz FL Division 3 campaign with a nine-point win over Offaly, but Faithful boss Gerry Cooney fired a broadside at referee Ciaran Branagan before leaving Casement Park.

“We don’t like making excuses but we’re not happy with a number of things that went on out there,” he said.

“Generally you’ll hold your hands up if you’re beaten fair and square but we had five yellow cards and no cards for the opposition and there wasn’t a bad blow in the game as far as I’m concerned. It’s strange and hard to take.

“I spoke to the referee afterwards asked him if he was happy with his performance.He said he was, and that’s all I can say on that. He said it [Shane Sullivan’s red card] was for abusive language which, if that’s red card, I think we’d see an awful lot more. It was to the umpire over a ball that was clearly wide. I’m not justifying what was said but I’m surprised it would be a red.”

The game was level four times before Paddy Cunningham fired home the game’s first goal to give Antrim a 1-7 to 0-6 lead. Three minutes later Shane Sullivan was given his marching orders before Brian Neeson stretched the Antrim lead to five points at the break.

Offaly managed just 1-2 in the second half after Antrim’s Tomas McCann goaled after the throw-in. Offaly sub Anton Sullivan got his marching orders late on for a second bookable offence, while Antrim ended the game with eight names on the scoresheet.

Scorers for Antrim: T McCann 1-3 (3fs), P Cunningham 1-1, B Neeson, J Loughery 0-3 each, T Scullion, M McCann, C Kelly, M Sweeney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Offaly: N Dunne 1-5 (2fs), K Casey 0-2, D Hanlon 0-1.

ANTRIM: C Kerr; P Gallagher, D O’Hagan, M McAleese; T Scullion, J Crozier, J Loughery; M McCann, C Kelly; T McCann, K Brady, M Armstrong; B Neeson, M Sweeney, P Cunningham.

Subs: M Johnson for McAleese, M Magill for Brady, S Finch for Scullion, R Murray for Neeson, A Gallagher for Cunningham.

OFFALY: A Mulhall; J Gallagher, S Sullivan, K Lynam; B Darby, J Maloney, S Pender; B Connor, N Smith; J Keane, A McNamee, N Dunne; L Hiney, W Mulhall, K Casey.

Subs: D Hanlon for Lynam, G Guilfoyle for Keane, A Sullivan for McNamee, D Kelly for Hiney, B Hanamy for Dunne.

Referee: C Branagan (Down).

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