Jack Sheedy rages at Longford red card

Longford 0-11 Kildare 2-24: Just last week, Offaly manager Pat Flanagan asserted that so-called weaker counties consistently got the short end of the stick when it came to getting decisions against teams with higher profiles.

Jack Sheedy rages at Longford red card

This week, his Longford counterpart, Jack Sheedy implied the same.

The fact that Kildare provided the opposition on both occasions was just coincidence, although many might have questioned Kildare’s status as a stronger county given their relegation to Division 3 in the spring.

In any case, their habitual use of the qualifiers as a redemptive process appears to be paying dividends once more.

Certainly, their belief was on a completely different plane to the jittery 70 minutes produced against Offaly last Saturday week at O’Connor Park and Jason Ryan placed great emphasis on the importance of that win.

They could prove awkward customers for any losing provincial finalist but it was the controversy surrounding the 48th minute dismissal of Diarmuid Masterson that dominated post-match discussions.

Longford were 12 points behind at the time but whatever chance they had of eating into that deficit disappeared with the sending-off. Alan Smith breached their defences for a second time from the resultant passage of play.

To rub salt into the Longford wounds, O’Mahoney signalled for a penalty to Sheedy’s men from the next attack but changed his mind after consulting with an umpire and resumed play with a throw-in.

There was universal astonishment when Masterson was shown a yellow card, followed by a red, as no one saw the defender being given his first sanction.

“It was a disgrace” blasted Sheedy.

“An out-and-out disgrace. There was no yellow card to begin with. I asked (the linesman) after the game and I asked him at the time why Diarmuid Masterson was sent off and he said because it was violent conduct or something to that effect. There was no violent conduct. Diarmuid Masterson went in to separate guys. It was obvious, as plain as the nose on your face and he made a bad call on that.

“He showed a yellow card and then a red card but there was never a yellow card shown before that. It is disappointing but we all make mistakes.”

The former Dublin All-Ireland winner was bemused by the Tipperary official’s thought processes on the penalty indecision, which on first viewing, would have been a very generous award as Brian Kavanagh fell dramatically to the ground.

“He gave the penalty. He waved it and then he changed his mind. Was he thinking about the game last weekend (when Padraig Hughes awarded a controversial penalty to Kerry in the Munster final)?

“He was fairly adamant when he went in and made the decision, I’ll say that. And surely if it was a penalty, it was a free. And then he threw the ball up!

“They are the breaks you get and you don’t get when you are under pressure and on the back foot and you are going to have to live with it.”

In stark contrast to Sheedy, Jason Ryan was understandably delighted with how the game transpired. Kildare flew out of the traps to lead by seven points by the 21st minute and after Longford had whittled that down to four, they responded with a point from Smith and an Eamonn Callaghan goal just before the interval.

Three points in as many minutes straight after the restart helped decide the tie.

“It was those three periods that really allowed us to get a little domination over them and that was the key in the end in getting that gap” said Ryan.

The Waterford native hailed the character of his players, not just in overcoming the setbacks of losing the influential Padraig O’Neill and Paul Cribbin to black cards, but also referred back to the way his side dug out the victory over Offaly in the previous round.

Given that they were coming off a 19-point trouncing by Dublin and that two players left the panel subsequently, it represented a stern examination.

“People from outside of our camp don’t know how difficult last week was. It was incredibly hard after the Dublin game for a number of different reasons.

“The players showed great character. They deserve huge credit for their performance today and how they’ve carried themselves since that match against Dublin. I’m very proud with them and how they dealt with the circumstances and situations and awkward things that have happened.

“As a group, the players have had criticism for different results and performances but they deserve huge credit for this one. They have forced the situation to happen that they have become closer and they are working hard together in the group. Their attitude and application in training has been superb. At this week’s training they were excellent and credit to them for that.”

Scorers for Kildare:

E O’Flaherty (0-5, 4 frees); P Cribbin (0-4); A Smith, E Callaghan (1-1 each); M Conway (0-3 frees); M Donnellan (45s), P O’Neill, N Kelly (0-2 each); O Lyons, E Bolton, C McNally, M Sherry (0-1 each).

Scorers for Longford:

B Kavanagh (0-7, 5 frees); R McEntire, D Reynolds, R Connor, L Connerton (0-1 each)

Kildare:

M Donnellan, C Fitzpatrick, M O’Grady, O Lyons, K Murnaghan, E Doyle, E Bolton, T Moolick, P Cribbin, P O’Neill, E O’Flaherty, C McNally, N Kelly, A Smith, E Callaghan.

Subs for Kildare:

M Sherry for O’Neill BC (22), H Lynch for Cribbin BC (49), M Conway for Callaghan (56), P Kelly for Doyle (58), P Fogarty for Smith (59), C O’Donoghue for Bolton (66)

Longford:

P Collum, F Battrim, B Gilleran, C Farrelly, CP Smyth, B O’Farrell, D Masterson, M Quinn, K Diffley, S Doyle, R McEntire, D Reynolds, R Connor, B Kavanagh, L Connerton.

Subs for Longford:

D Brady for Smyth (25), P Foy for Diffley (45), P Gill for Doyle (56), T Gallagher for Battrim (59), R McNerney for Connor (63)

Referee:

D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)

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