Kinsella's huffing and puffing leaves Oisin ranting and raving

Oisin McConville was irritated by the referee's inability to keep up with play
Padraig Kelly

ONE of the first shots of BBC’s coverage yesterday was Martin Clarke sitting in the studio with the Down team warming up on the pitch in the background.

All that was missing was Jim Bowen telling Down fans “look at what you could have won” as Clarke was pulled along the floor in a speedboat in front of Mark Sidebottom and Oisin McConville.

The An Riocht man was asked early on by Sidebottom had there been any chance of an appearance at Celtic Park.

“I’m just a supporter today,” replied Clarke. “It was never close, just on the medical advice.”

Michael Lyster’s illness meant that Darragh Maloney was in the hot-seat on RTE, and Colm O’Rourke was quickly into his stride, dismissing the threat of both sides.

“I don’t see them as serious contenders,” said the Meathman.

“I think there is a big gap in the standard of both Down and Derry compared to the top team, and the top team in Ulster has to be Donegal or Monaghan.”

O’Rourke wasn’t finished yet with Eoin Bradley next in his crosshairs.

“Bradley wouldn’t be my cup of tea, I must say.

“If you want to play senior inter-county football you have to devote your time to it.

“You can’t play soccer, come back and play a bit of football or whatever it is.”

A dull half of football followed with Derry leading 0-8 to 0-5, but McConville’s wrath was reserved for referee Eddie Kinsella’s fitness rather than the fare on show.

“Both teams are playing defensively, but at least if both teams are playing defensively and you get the game going you have a certain amount of flow to it,” said the Crossmaglen man.

“With Eddie today we are getting absolutely no flow because he’s blowing absolutely everything.

“Maybe he’s having an off day, maybe he had a cold, all I’m saying is that I’m giving you the facts of what’s happening today.

“I don’t know the reasoning for that, if he did his fitness test three months ago, six months ago, two months ago, but today he is not fit to keep up with the play and that’s why he’s stopping the game.”

Back on RTE, the mood was not much better.

“They are like sheep in terms of coaching, it’s the herd instinct,” said Pat Spillane.

“Both managers are setting up defensively and they’ll say they are in a results business and they are not in the business of entertainment. This wasn’t an attacking, open game of football

“It’s intriguing, it’s enthralling, it’s exciting, it’s tense and you look at their tactics and you try to figure out how they are trying to counteract them, but it’s poor quality football.”

The second half was an improvement on the first, but despite having plenty of desired elements, Spillane was still not happy.

He praised Down’s ability to get within one despite Conall McGovern’s harsh sending off, but he was disappointed with the match overall.

“Credit to Down, playing 36 minutes with 14 men and out-playing Derry in that half.

“They played with great intensity, showed a greater work-rate in that half. If they had shown a similar desire and work-rate in the first half then they probably would have won the game.

“Overall Derry were possibly slightly the better team, they made no use of the extra man. They went 23 minutes with an extra man getting no score from play.

“Overall it was tense, it was exciting, the result was in doubt and no one left early.

“It was probably still better than the nil-all game between England and the Republic and Ireland.

“But overall we have to be honest about it, it was a very, very poor match.

“That’s 72 minutes of my life gone, that I will never get back.”


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