GAA Football

Donegal boss Declan Bonner unhappy with referee in defeat to Kerry

Donegal manager Declan Bonner pictured during the 2018 Dr McKenna Cup semi-final match against Armagh at Celtic Park, Derry. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin.
Gerry McLaughlin

DONEGAL manager Declan Bonner has hit out over two crucial points during their narrow Allianz Football League defeat to Kerry in Killarney on Sunday.

The Donegal boss yesterday said he had approached referee Paddy Neilan to point out that Kerry’s Daithi Casey had bounced the ball twice just before he hit the last-minute winner in what was a thrilling League opener.

And he also wondered how an umpire was able to spot the incident leading to Nathan Mullins’s red card from “80 metres” and another umpire was not able to see that Casey had hopped the ball twice about 12 yards away from the kicker.

“I saw it (the double hop) at the time and I actually went to the referee afterwards and I mentioned it to him. I said ‘listen it will show it up tonight that you got it wrong’,’’ said Bonner.

“You would hope that at some stage down the line we will get a decision to balance that out.

“I was very disappointed that we did not get a result but the lads showed great character after going down to 14 men for 50 minutes.

“We led by four points and let it slip.”

When asked about the Nathan Mullins incident, he said: “You could say it was harsh in that an umpire saw it from 80 metres and an umpire could not see the Daithi Casey double bounce from about 12 yards.

“It is a learning curve for Nathan Mullins but I think there was very little in it.

“He will be out for Sunday’s match against Galway.”

Goalkeeper Mark Anthony McGinley will also be out for Sunday due to a quad injury, Bonner revealed, while Jamie Brennan and Jason McGee are doubts after picking up knocks in the defeat to Kerry.

Bonner has admitted that a victory over Galway is now vital in terms of their Division One ambitions, but said it would not be the end of the world if Donegal were relegated to Division Two. 

“Galway will be very hard to beat as they have a very strong outfit and they got a very good result against Tyrone,” he said.

“They also have Paddy Tally in their backroom team and that can only add to their threat.

“We will be going out to get a good performance and if we win, we win but this is a building process and it would not be a disaster if we were relegated.

“It is all about building a team for the future.

“We want to build on the performance against Kerry.

“Galway will give us an awkward time but that is where you want to be.”

Meanwhile, Bonner said he fully accepted Eoin McHugh’s decision to take a year out from the county squad to concentrate on his studies.

“I put no pressure on him to play with the squad this year,” said Bonner.

“It is totally understandable, I was in touch with Eoin and he was undecided about what he wanted to do.

“The commitment at this level is phenomenal.”

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