Donegal too streetwise for us claims Armagh assistant boss Jim McCorry
Allianz Football League Division Two: Donegal 1-9 Armagh 0-11
ASSISTANT manager Jim McCorry believes Armagh must learn to be more street-wise and pointed to Donegal’s perceived ability in winning frees and accused them of influencing officials on key decisions.
In the immediate aftermath of Armagh’s Division Two loss to Donegal in a rain-swept Ballybofey on Saturday night, McCorry also confirmed they would appeal James Morgan’s first-half red card.
In a feisty encounter, Morgan and Donegal’s Jason McGee were dismissed after a 17th minute melee, while the Orchard men picked up nine yellow cards to Donegal’s two.
“We work hard on our discipline in the tackle and you sort of ask questions why there were so many given against us,” mused McCorry.
“You scratch your head on some of those. I wouldn’t be one to criticise referees and sometimes we make it easy for them. [But] They were bought very, very easily – and that’s the thing that we’ve experienced now [in Division Two].
“When we played Donegal, Monaghan and Tyrone in the McKenna Cup, in the latter stages they have a bit more smarts than us in drawing frees and we made it easy for referees to give them.
“So that was a big, big concern and the number of yellow cards that were given. I suppose when the man with the ball goes into the tackle with his head down, which some of the [Donegal] players were doing tonight, then it’s obvious that referees are going to maybe fall for that. So that was the disappointing aspect.”
McCorry insisted the match officials were unduly influenced before two red cards were issued by Monaghan referee Martin McNally on Saturday night.
“We felt the referee got a lot of information from the side and obviously there was a lot of influence from others who shouldn’t have been on the field at the time,” said McCorry.
“Whenever they are in somebody’s ear, he’s been influenced to make that decision. Two yellows would have been better.
“From my position it just looked like ‘handbags’, no real punches thrown… We’ll look at the video evidence, certainly and the one last week against Tipperary [Brian Fox] was successfully appealed. I’d like to think Morgan was the peace-maker on this one and he was unfairly punished. We’d hope that one would be rectified as well.”
Michael Murphy returned to the Donegal fold on Saturday night and bagged a game-winning 1-2 for the hosts as Armagh are now sweating on retaining their Division Two status with two games remaining.
Donegal boss Declan Bonner was relieved to bounce back with a win after suffering back-to-back defeats to Tipperary and Fermanagh.
“They were two very important points and all week we spoke about getting that character in the team," said Bonner.
“In the first half we had to dig in against the wind and then Michael Murphy’s goal just before half time was the real turning point.”
“In fairness Michael Langan scored some good long range frees for us in the second half and we really dug but we did make life hard for ourselves.”
Donegal: S Patton; S McMenamin, B McCole, C Ward; R McHugh, L McLoone, E Gallagher; H McFadden, C McGonagle; C Thompson (0-1 free), J McGee, M Langan (0-5 free); J Brennan, O Gallen, N O’Donnell (0-1)
Subs: M Murphy (1-2) for O Gallen (29), E McHugh for C Thompson (48), P Brennan for S McMenamin (56)
Yellow cards: M Langan (18), C McGonagle (38)
Red cards: J McGee (18)
Armagh: B Hughes; J Morgan, A McKay, R McShane; C Mackin, G McCabe, P Hughes; S Sheridan, N Grimley (0-3, 0-2 free, 0-1 sideline); J Hall, R Grugan, C Vernon; S Campbell (0-2), R O’Neill (0-4, 0-3 frees), J Clarke (0-1)
Subs: R Kennedy for R McShane (h-t), E Rafferty (0-1 free) for S Campbell (41), M Shields for J Hall (63), J Og Burns for C Vernon (63), J McElroy for C Mackin (70)
Yellow cards: S Sheridan (22), C Mackin (25), N Grimley (38), C Vernon (40), J Hall (56), R O’Neill (59), R Grugan (66), A McKay (67), G McCabe (73)
Red cards: J Morgan (18)
Referee: M McNally (Monaghan)