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'An innocent man was sent off... he's distraught people would even think that'

John Caulfield insists that Alan Bennett was incorrectly dismissed against Shamrock Rovers.

Neil Doyle sends John Caulfield to the stands John Caulfield remonstrates with referee Neil Doyle after being sent to the stand. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

REFEREE NEIL DOYLE’S decision to show a straight red card to Alan Bennett at Tallaght Stadium on Monday evening has been criticised by Cork City manager John Caulfield.

The City captain was sent off following an off-the-ball incident in the 37th minute of their 1-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers in the semi-final of the EA Sports Cup.

The Hoops advanced to a meeting with Dundalk in the final on 16 September after James Doona pounced for the only goal of the game in the final minute of extra-time.

However, Caulfield has insisted that the game was “ruined” by the dismissal of Bennett, who was given his marching orders for an alleged stamp on Rovers defender David Webster.

A scuffle breaks out between Shamrock Rovers players and Cork City players Alan Bennett is shown a red card as Cork City and Shamrock Rovers players clash. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“We’ve watched it several times on the video. Actually it’s comical because Dave Webster runs past him, puts out his hand and falls on the ground. Maybe ask Dave that because he was clever and he was cute, and he conned it. We’ve watched it and we’re really disappointed,” Caulfield said.

“Alan Bennett is really distraught about it because his record is impeccable. He would never do a thing like that but sometimes people buy into it and get carried away. That’s why we’re more disappointed because it was an even game at the time, we were well in the game but that’s the way it goes.”

Bennett is now set to be suspended for Saturday’s FAI Cup first round meeting with Bray Wanderers at the Carlisle Grounds, but Caulfield suggested that City will consider appealing the red card, as well as the manager’s own expulsion to the stand late in normal time.

Caulfield said: “Listen, an innocent man was sent off. There’s a rumour going around that he stamped but we have the video. Absolutely not. It’s quite clear. Dave Webster is clever. He fell on the ground and they all ran around him. It’s disappointing.

Alan Bennett is sent off An angry Alan Bennett leaves the field. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

“Dave was clever, but hopefully Dave will stand up and be counted because Alan Bennett has an impeccable record, absolutely superb guy, and he’s distraught people would even think that that’s going on. There’s absolutely no way. That’s just the way it is.

“The referee, in fairness to him he said he saw it. Looking at the video, it looks like he couldn’t have seen it because of his position. We’ll see. But certainly you don’t like an innocent guy being done and that’s what seems to have happened.

“We’ll wait and see the reports and we’ll have a look at it, but Alan isn’t very, very happy about it at all and maybe you might have to ask Dave Webster. But it was disappointing because it changed the game and it ruined the game.”

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Paul Dollery

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