No Sludden sympathy from Rooney

LOUTH forward JP Rooney admits he had little sympathy for under-fire referee Martin Sludden as he was bundled out of Croke Park last Sunday.

Tyrone whistler Sludden was confronted by Louth players, management and fans after awarding Meath a controversial late Joe Sheridan goal in the Leinster football final.

Rooney, 30, has been a Louth senior footballer since 1999 and he said: “I’m still waiting for somebody to say that we’ve been the victims of a bad joke. How could he give it?”

Three minutes into stoppage time, Rooney was booked for kicking the ball away as Louth tried to slow the game down and hang on for the win.

The Naomh Martin clubman revealed: “I’m absolutely raging. What’s the point in training all year when that happens?

“Aaron Hoey was pleading with him to consult with his umpires but when he went in, he told them to put up the green flag.”

He added: “You don’t want to see what happened afterwards but it’s heat of the moment stuff. A lot of the Louth people that went on are not violent people but when your blood’s up... I know it’s wrong people running at the ref — it’s an amateur game and he’s not getting anything out of it. But you can see why Louth people did it. He brought it on himself and I wouldn’t feel sorry for him.

“It always seems to be the minor counties that get the bad luck and the bad decisions at the end of each game.

“If it was the other way around, it definitely wouldn’t happen.

The fallout from Sunday’s Leinster final dominated the news agenda on both sides of the Meath-Louth border yesterday with the popular Michael Reade Show devoting its entire two-hour running time to it on LMFM radio.

Former Meath player, Mattie Kerrigan, claimed it would be “totally unfair” if it were left to Meath to decide whether or not they should offer a rematch and that was an opinion shared by ex-Louth forward Stefan White.

“I think it is wrong that the (Meath) county board should have to make a decision and I don’t think it is up to them,” said White. “If the shoe was on the other foot I wouldn’t expect the Louth county board to have the authority to do it either. The Meath county board shouldn’t be backed into a corner to make the decision. It should come from the Leinster Council but, hand on heart, I don’t think it will be overturned.”

Kerrigan was sympathetic towards Louth and the manner in which they had a first Leinster title in 53 years ripped from their grasp but he was adamant that what was done was done and that all parties simply needed to move on.

“I have been involved in games myself over the years where decisions have gone against Meath. You would be frustrated and disappointed but you have to get up on the Monday and move on because there is nothing you can do.

“A lot of decisions took place in the game where the referee got it wrong, whether a pick off the ground or a bad refereeing call.”

Kerrigan described it as “a call that will haunt him, the Leinster Council and Louth for the rest of the year”.


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