Colm Collins blamed a frozen pitch in Páirc Esler for the horrific ankle injury sustained by Dermot Coughlan, while Kieran McGeeney was unhappy three key decisions went against Armagh in an action-packed Division Two draw in Newry.
McGeeney disputed both Clare goals, David Tubridy’s sideline kick somehow leading to a goal right at the death, as well as the straight red card for Jamie Clarke as Armagh finished with 13 players and Clare with 14.
Coughlan crumpled to the ground after just 20 seconds and was stretchered off after play was held up for over 12 minutes in Páirc Esler.
“Dermot went over on his ankle, it’s dislocated and probably broken,” said Collins.
“I would have an issue with the pitch. I thought it was frozen in places and I think the injury was as a result of the frozen pitch.
“You wouldn’t get very far down if you were digging into that - I wouldn’t like to be digging a grave on it, that’s for sure.”
Armagh’s ‘punishment’ for breaking the training ban last year was to forfeit home advantage for one league game and what an eventful one it turned out to be.
Laced with cards, goals, superb points and hotly disputed decisions, it was a difficult afternoon for referee Cormac Reilly as a big Armagh support made Páirc Esler home for the day.
David Tubridy’s goal straight from a sideline kick snatched a draw for Clare, as Armagh squandered a useful lead for the second week in a row, having also blown a five-point advantage in Kildare last weekend.
McGeeney rued the big decisions that went against Armagh. First they lost Jamie Clarke to a straight red card after 30 minutes.
Greg McCabe’s goal seven minutes later gave them a good platform to build a lead but it was cancelled out before half-time by a controversial Clare goal by Gavin Cooney.
The sub fisted the ball to the net and after consulting with his umpires, Cormac Reilly allowed the goal to stand believing the ball had gone in off an Armagh player.
McGeeney didn’t agree. “I’ve watched it back, there’s no change in trajectory, there’s no way James (Morgan) hit it,” he said.
Jamie’s red was harsh, the player (Kevin Harnett) was struck on the chest and goes down holding his face, and the (Tubridy) goal at the death didn’t cross the line.
Clare led 1-8 to 1-6 at the break, outscoring Armagh 1-3 to 0-1 in a good period before the interval.
Although they fought back to level it up at 1-9 apiece that’s when they lost midfielder Cathal O’Connor to a straight red for dangerous play after 54 minutes.
Both sides were down to 14 but Armagh were the better side by far either side of O’Connor’s dismissal. Armagh defender Aaron McKay picked up a second yellow right at the death as Armagh finished with 13.
Jemar Hall, Charlie Vernon and Aidan Forker scored superb points while both ‘keepers pulled off good saves in an open, entertaining game.
Although trailing by four as the game approached the 70th minute, Tubridy converted a superb sideline kick which split the posts in injury time.
And when faced with the same kick a minute later, floated it into the square and it somehow found its way into the top corner for an unlikely draw.
G McCabe (1-1), N Grimley (0-3, 2f), R O’Neill (0-3, 1f), J Hall (0-2), C Mackin, A Forker, C Vernon (0-1 each), R Grugan 0-1 (f).
D Tubridy 1-7 (2f), G Cooney 1-0, D Masterson, J Malone, K Malone 0-1 each
B Hughes; A McKay, J Morgan, M Shields; C Mackin, G McCabe, A Forker; S Sheridan, N Grimley; J Hall, R Grugan, C Vernon; S Campbell, R O’Neill, J Clarke.
R McShane for Vernon (57), J McElroy for Morgan (58), J Duffy for Shields (65), R McQuillan for Hall (69)
P DeLoughrey; K Harnett, C Brennan, G Kelly; C O hAinifein, D Ryan, D Masterson; G Brennan, C O’Connor; C O’Dea, J Malone, D Coughlan; K Malone, K Sexton, D Tubridy.
G Cooney for Coughlan (12), E Collins for Masterson (46), D Bohannon for K Malone (59), G O’Brien for J Malone (60)
Cormac Reilly (Meath)