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'If that's the scenario in every match you'd have five or six fellas sent off for jumping for headers'

Footage shows Graham Cummins’ red card against St Pat’s was harsh, says Cork City boss John Caulfield.

Updated Feb 20th 2018, 4:02 PM

Graham Cummins scores a goal Graham Cummins hit the net for Cork City in Richmond Park last Friday night. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

CORK CITY MANAGER John Caulfield has said that footage of the incident which saw Graham Cummins sent off against St Patrick’s Athletic justifies the striker’s belief that he was unfairly dismissed during Friday’s 3-2 victory for the Leesiders at Richmond Park.

Having scored to put his side 2-0 up in the opening game of their title defence, Cummins received a straight red card in the 26th minute of his Premier Division debut for City for an apparent elbow on Pat’s defender Kevin Toner.

But the highlights of the game, which were broadcast during last night’s Soccer Republic show on RTÉ, suggested that the 30-year-old may have had cause for complaint after receiving his marching orders. Referee Rob Harvey appeared to be advised by one of his assistants before brandishing the red card.

Reflecting on the incident this afternoon, John Caulfield acknowledged the challenge that faces officials when forced to make crucial decisions in the heat of the moment and without the benefit of television replays. However, the City manager is adamant that Cummins shouldn’t have been sent off.

“The first thing is that it’s always difficult for referees because they just see it [as it happens],” Caulfield said. “Between them and the linesmen they have to decide.

“We were shocked. We didn’t think it was a card at all on the night. And obviously we have our own video as well. But I think in hindsight everyone can see that it probably didn’t even warrant a card.”

Irrespective of one’s view of the incident based on the footage which has subsequently emerged, Cummins must now serve a minimum one-match ban. That rules him out of Friday night’s meeting with one of his former clubs, Waterford.

Cummins, who returned for a second spell with Cork City over the winter after leaving Scottish Premiership club St Johnstone, could potentially be dealt a longer suspension, although Caulfield is hopeful that no further action will be taken.

“We have the appeal tomorrow so we have to go to that,” he said. “We just hope that it’s no more than a one-match [suspension]. The rules within the league state that you have to serve a one-match for a red card immediately, which is disappointing, because it’s probably a rule that needs to be adjusted if there’s a clear error after being made.

“We’ll wait and see, but certainly from our own point of view, even on the night we were extremely disappointed with the decision. We’ll deal with that tomorrow.”

The City boss added: “When you go to independent tribunals it’s hard to gauge. But I think if common sense applies, with the video evidence that we’ve had and what was on TV last night, with what people have said, I think everyone can see… if that’s the scenario in every match you’d have five or six fellas sent off for jumping for headers. It’s quite clear that there was absolutely no intent, even if there was contact, so we’ll just wait and see.”

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Paul Dollery

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