‘I thought the ref was Dick Turpin without a mask’

LOUTH boss Peter Fitzpatrick last night insisted that if the GAA have ‘any decency’ they will replay yesterday’s Leinster SFC final.

The tie ended in controversy after referee Martin Sludden awarded an injury-time goal to Meath but tv replays showed that Joe Sheridan carried the ball over the line.

Fitzpatrick also claimed that if referee Martin Sludden ‘has any balls’ he will admit that he should not have awarded the goal and claimed the whistle-blower instructed his umpires to raise the green flag.

Fitzpatrick blasted: “I just couldn’t believe it. Joe Sheridan threw the ball into the net and I just think it’s a disgraceful decision by the referee. I just hope that when he goes home, he’ll look at it and say he shouldn’t have given the goal.

“If he has any balls, he will. I think if the Central Competitions Control Committee or Christy Cooney have any decency at all, they’ll have to do something.

“I honestly thought he (Sludden) was Dick Turpin without a mask. I think that was just pure daylight robbery. I was talking to Seamus Kenny afterwards and he said it wasn’t a goal. I went to the referee and I said ‘why did you give the goal?’ He said ‘c’mon with me to the dressing room. He explained he was going to give a penalty. I said if you were going to give a penalty why didn’t you give a penalty? Why didn’t you consult your umpires? Aaron Hoey asked him to consult the umpires and he told the umpire to put the flag up. What is the point in having umpires?

“My only hope is that the CCCC will do something about it. What really annoys me is you see the CCCC chasing up what’s a yellow or red cards. You see Tomás Ó Se last week getting no yellow cards and then he gets done for a suspension during the week when they looked at it.

“For a decision by a referee to do that today on us is totally wrong.”

Fitzpatrick, speaking on RTÉ Radio and LMFM believes his Louth players and their supporters deserve justice after the commitment they have displayed.

“It’s an amateur sport. You don’t realise the amount of commitment and effort that county teams put in nowadays. I’m on the Louth line doing a job, there, I don’t get a penny. The players don’t get pennies. We worked so hard all year and all we want is fair play.

“I just feel really sorry for this team today. We waited so long to get here and I just feel a sour taste in my mouth. We’d 20 to 25,000 people down from Louth today to see a decent game of football. But they didn’t get that today.”

Louth midfielder Brian White blasted Sludden for his decision and called for him to quit refereeing.

White termed the awarding of the goal ‘a disgrace’, but doesn’t believe that Meath will offer to replay the match.

“I was about 25 or 30 yards out and I just saw him (Sheridan) rolling across the line with it. I saw the referee pointing out and I thought he was just giving a free out, which would have been the correct decision.

“I heard the referee got hit going off the field, we don’t like to see that either but he needs to have a good look at himself in the mirror and maybe just quit refereeing.

“Everyone is saying to me it is a blatant free out, he just rolled over the line. It’s a disgrace and something should be done about it. Imagine training from November for that and that happening.

“It’s just not right. Our first final in 50 years and to get done like that. I’m absolutely sick. Do you think they are going to do that (offer a replay). Not a f***ing chance. And when we see the papers and the replays it is just going to make it a lot worse when you can’t do anything about it. Maybe it’s just because we are a small team or something like that, we are not a Meath or Dublin, Tyrone or Kerry and we don’t get these decisions.”

Fitzpatrick vowed his team will come back from this setback and is adamant that they are not bad losers after their reaction to Sludden’s decision.

“We’re not bad losers. Meath beat us before and in fairness when the game was over, I was the first man to shake Eamonn O’Brien’s hand. I wished him the best of luck and everything else. In fairness we were three points behind at half-time and in fairness to the lads, they kept battling away. I thought we’d opened up a gap when we were three points up. We worked very hard but made two silly mistakes to let Meath back in again.

“Then I just couldn’t believe it. I hope the referee goes home tonight, put his hands up and say that he made a mistake. It’s taken us 50 years to get here and I just think it’s wrong what happened. We’ll come back from this.

“We’re going to get knocks over the coming years but we’ll recover and we’ll come again.”


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Wesley O’ Regan is the General Manager of Popscene in Voodoo Rooms, Cork city. Popscene opened last November and is Cork’s only themed bar that is dedicated to celebrating the best of the 80s and 90s. https://www.facebook.com/PopsceneCork/You've Been Served: Wesley O'Regan, Popscene

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