Allianz Football League Division One: Donegal 1-15 Kildare 3-7
FURIOUS Kildare manager Cian O’Neill launched a stinging attack on referee David Gough’s decision to give his captain Eoin Doyle a second yellow card in a hard fought affair that Donegal stumbled through in Ballyshannon.
A lucky goal from the outstanding Ryan McHugh in the 65th minute guided a shaky home side to victory against a gritty 14-man Kildare outfit.
Donegal trailed 0-5 to 1--5 at the interval and added 10 points with the second half breeze, but conceded two goals in the 43rd and 48th minute that allowed Kildare back into contention.
Gough gave Doyle a second yellow card for failing to wear a gumshield after being sent to get one in the 15th minute.
The decision sparked fury from O’Neill, who argued that his captain was going off the field to get his gumshield when the second yellow card was awarded.
He felt play should have been stopped to allow Doyle to go off the field to replace his gumshield.
“Absolutely disgraceful decision. Nobody knew he was being asked to go off and get the gumshield except us (the management team).
“He sprinted over to the line and called ‘I need to get a gumshield’.
“The rest of the team did not know what was happening and our ’keeper thought he was going out to the sideline to take a pass.
“The ball was kicked to him and he caught the ball as he was running off the get his gumshield. The referee came and brandished a yellow card.
“The referee told Eoin to go off and get a gumshield as it was knocked out of his mouth.
“So Eoin came over to get a spare gumshield and what I am disappointed with as well is that the officials are miced up to be better at their job.
“The linesman was right there beside me and he clearly heard Eoin say ‘lads I need a gumshield’.
“All he had to do was to buzz the referee and say he is coming off the field to get his gumshield.”
O’Neill’s men had to play with 14 men for 55 minutes against a Donegal side who played well in patches and hung on for their vital first League points.
But manager Declan Bonner will not be happy with the concession of two fairly basic goals in the second half.
It fell to the usual suspects like Paddy McBrearty and Michael Murphy to haul Donegal over the line.
As well as the sending off, Kildare can feel aggrieved about another big first half decision from Gough.
In the seventh minute they profited from a poor kick out from Donegal ’keeper Shaun Patton which came to corner-forward Ben McCormack deep inside an open Donegal defence.
McCormack was one-on-one with Patton but elected to pass the ball across the square for a simple tap-in for Daniel Flynn.
But Gough disallowed the goal because Flynn was adjudged to be in the square.
This was a real let-off for Donegal as Flynn had hit the net two minutes previously after midfielder Kevin Feely and Tommy Moolick combined brilliantly to set him through on goal.
Had the second goal been allowed to stand, Kildare would have been leading by 2-1 to no-score against a shell-shocked Donegal, who took a while to settle against a big breeze.
In the second half, Donegal pulled clear and had three-point leads on two occasions only to be hauled back by well-executed goals from Niall Kelly and substitute Dave Slattery in the 43rd and 58th minute.
In the end it was McHugh’s lucky lob that gave the home side the precious points.
But Bonner has some major surgery to perform on his defence for next Saturday night’s battle against Tyrone.
“We had a bit of luck all right but we got the result and that was most pleasing and it sets us up for a big battle against Tyrone,” he said.
He agreed that Kildare’s ability to cut down the middle was “something we will have to look at.
“But this was all about getting a result and of the four matches we played this was our poorest display but we got the points.”
Donegal: S Patton; E Gallagher (0-1), C Ward, S McMenamin; M McHugh, E Doherty, P Brennan; H McFadden (0-1), O MacNiallais (0-1); R McHugh (1-2) L McLoone, T McClenaghan; P McBrearty (0-5), M Murphy (0-3 0-1 free) J Brennan (0-1).
Subs: N O’Donnell (0-1) for McClenaghan (h-t), N McGee for Ward (50). S McBrearty for J Brennan (55), C McGonagle for M McHugh (62), N Mullins for O’Donnell (68),
Kildare: M Donnellan; P Kelly, D Hyland, M O’Grady; C O’Donoghue, E Doyle, J Byrne (0-1); K Feely (0-2 frees) T Moolick; F Conway (0-1) N Kelly (1-0) P Cribbin (0-1); B McCormack, D Flynn (1-2), K Cribbin.
Subs: P Brophy for McCormack (25), K Flynn for O’Donoghue (h-t), D Slattery (1-0), for Cribbin (55) C Healy for Kelly (64), F Dowling for F Conway
Referee: D Gough (Meath)