GAA Football

Monaghan boss Malachy O'Rourke 'frustrated' by referee calls

Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke was frustrated at Anthony Nolan's refereeing performance as they lost yesterday's All-Ireland semi-final to Tyrone
From Brendan Crossan at Croke Park

MONAGHAN boss Malachy O’Rourke couldn’t disguise his frustration at referee Anthony Nolan’s performance after yesterday’s agonising All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Tyrone at Croke Park.

O’Rourke was dismayed at a number of refereeing calls and Nolan’s decision to allow just three minutes of stoppage-time at end of yesterday’s nail-biting clash.

The Farneymen were in the ascendancy as the final whistle sounded that saw Tyrone seal their first All-Ireland final appearance in 10 years.

Second-half substitute Kieran Hughes and Drew Wylie grabbed stoppage-time scores to make it a one-point game.

“We were just so frustrated the way the game ended,” said an exasperated O’Rourke.

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“Every game we’ve been involved in this year, there have been seven, eight or nine minutes of injury-time. I don’t understand how today, when there were so many subs brought on [eight during the second half], and there were plenty of injuries through the game – and the referee came up with three minutes of injury-time.

“That’s really frustrating because we were on the front foot and we scored two points in injury-time, and to be cut off like that is seriously disappointing.”

On numerous occasions, the Monaghan bench were seen throwing their hands in the air at some calls that went against their team.

“I did feel right through the game that a lot of the marginal calls didn’t go our way and we were having to work a lot harder to get a free than Tyrone were,” said O’Rourke.

“I don’t want this to reflect on Tyrone at all. That’s nothing to do with Tyrone. They won the game and deservedly so.

“But, from our own point of view, we were very frustrated.”

Towards the end of yesterday's tie, Monaghan won’t forget Collie Cavanagh’s incredible tackle on Jack McCarron in a hurry.

The Monaghan forward looked certain to get a shot off but the Tyrone midfielder’s freakish wingspan denied him.

“We were on the front foot and with Jack coming in… and Colm Cavanagh getting a really good tackle on him. We’d other chances and we were really, really pressing.

“That’s why it’s so frustrating that we didn’t get a bit more time.”

Another nagging aspect from O’Rourke’s perspective was that Monaghan didn’t play to their full potential.

“Listen, the boys showed the character we knew they would. We’ve probably played better this year than we did today.

“It took us a while to get going and we got ourselves a point ahead [in the 62nd minute] and were in a good position. Tyrone got the goal – and even the goal they got, Darren [Hughes] made a brilliant diving block, [Colin] Walshie was there as well, and it just rolled out and Niall Sludden put it away.

“It’s just very frustrating to come down here - the biggest day we’ve had - and to be beaten the way we were.”

Monaghan were aiming to reach their first All-Ireland final since 1930. Leaving Dublin last night, achieving that goal seemed as far away as ever.

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