Football/Soccer

Glentoran manager Mick McDermott attempts to play down bizarre Aaron McCarey sending off

Glentoran goalkeeper Aaron McCarey sends his team-mate Bobby Burns flying during Saturday's draw with Coleraine at the Oval
Padraig O Meiscill

Danske Bank Premiership

DESPITE trying to play down Saturday’s extraordinary scenes at the Oval, Glentoran boss Mick McDermott accepts there are likely to be further consequences for his red carded goalkeeper Aaron McCarey.

McCarey left his team-mate Bobby Burns lying in a heap after the defender had conceded possession on the halfway line in the lead up to Coleraine’s late equaliser in the 2-2 draw. As Cathair Friel celebrated converting that goal, the Glens ’keeper immediately raced towards his defender and struck him, with Burns falling to the ground before McCarey attempted to drag him up by the shirt.

Glentoran captain Patrick McClean and team-mate Rhy Marshall then intervened, with McClean throwing the ball at McCarey, before the ’keeper was given his marching orders under the glare of the live BBC cameras.

And although McDermott tried to brush the incident off on the final whistle, attention will now turn to what – if any – follow up action will emanate from Glentoran and the Irish League authorities.

"I am more concerned about how we conceded the goal before the incident," the Glens manager said.

"I've only seen a close angle on an iPad and I can't zoom in on it. When I can't get our analysis cameras there's a zoomed out version, I'll have a look at it. Aaron has come into the dressing room and said he shouldn't have done it, he has held his hand up and Bobby Burns the same.

"They're both gutted with what happened, so look, we'll deal with it. I spoke to Bobby and he said he didn't strike him in the face. There was no contact with the face.

"Until I see the footage I can't give you my opinion of it. Bobby confirmed in the dressing room, I actually brought him into my office, he said there was no contact with his face but when he fell back he hit his head on the grass and that was the reaction.”

"Nobody falls out, they're all grown men,” the one-time international coach said.

“It's an incident that shouldn't have happened and now we move on. There's no news. Two players got in a row, it's happened before, it's not nice but it's happened and we move on.

"We have rules and we protocols, procedures and disciplinary actions. If it's proven it's violent conduct we'll have to consider the consequences. I think for me talking to our players... the disciplinary stuff we deal with all the time. I'm not going to blow it up into a major incident."

Friel’s equaliser was the latest blow to a highly anticipated Glentoran title challenge after Jay Donnelly's double had cancelled out Conor McKendry's 15th-minute opener for the Bannsiders. The Glens now sit in sixth place in the Danske Bank Premiership table, seven points behind leaders Cliftonville.

The Reds confirmed they would stay top of the pile for at least another week thanks to a 2-1 win over Larne at Solitude. Paddy McLaughlin’s men led through Rory Hale’s rocket of a 10th minute finish, but were pegged back when Davy McDaid fired home for the visitors. An entertaining contest was settled in Cliftonville’s favour when captain Hale connected with Jamie McDonagh’s inch-perfect delivery to nod the ball past ’keeper Rohan Ferguson.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Linfield leap-frogged Larne into second place with a comfortable 3-0 win over Warrenpoint at Milltown. Chris Shields opened the scoring with a penalty before Kirk Millar and Christy Manzinga struck to leave Warrenpoint languishing at the bottom with just the one win to date.

Matthew Fitzpatrick scored twice for Glenavon at Mourneview in a 4-2 win over Dungannon Swifts. Mark Stafford and Peter Campbell were also on target for the Lurgan Blues, with Ryan Mayse and Darragh McBrien replying for the visitors.

Andy McGrory got the winning goal as Ballymena United overcome nine-man Portadown 1-0 at Shamrock Park, while Crusaders’ game against Carrick Rangers was postponed due to a Covid outbreak.

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Football/Soccer