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'It’s a great advertisement for the League and it’s ruined as he’s not big enough for the game'

Shamrock Rovers manager Stephen Bradley was furious with the referee as his side played more than half of last night’s defeat to Bohemians with nine men.

Shamrock Rovers manager, Stephen Bradley.
Shamrock Rovers manager, Stephen Bradley.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

STEPHEN BRADLEY COULDN’T hide his frustration after his Shamrock Rovers side fell to a 1-0 derby defeat to Bohemians at Tallaght Stadium last night, meaning they are winless against their rivals since May 2017. 

For the second time this season, Rovers lost to a Dinny Corcoran goal following a red card.

In February Aaron Greene was sent off in the first half before Corcoran scored a second-half penalty; last night Corcoran steered home the rebound of a penalty after Rovers had seen Trevor Clarke and Lee Grace sent off. 

Clarke was given a straight red card for being adjudged as the last man in pulling back Danny Grant; Grace was given a second yellow when referee Paul McLaughlin ruled a Keith Buckley shot struck his raised arm. Replays suggested it hit him in the head. 

“Trevor’s one, people say it’s a definite red: it happened us in Inchicore”, an exasperated Bradley told The42 post-match.  

“Lee Desmond’s the last man in the box, takes down Aaron Greene, and we’re told the rules have changed and it’s not a sending off.

“Tonight Trevor’s not even last man and he’s sent off straight away.

Lee Grace, it’s hit him in the head. The referee was so quick to point to the spot he couldn’t change his mind. It’s unbelievable. Unbelievable decisions. Big, big games, how they can make these decisions, it’s beyond me. It’s happened to us in Inchicore as well. It’s happened to us a few places. If that’s the rule, Trevor’s last man and is sent off, it should happen everywhere.

“I think in big games decisions are going against us.

“I think we need to look at who referees these big games, who takes control of them. The fourth official tonight [Robert Hennessy] is one of the best in the league, if not the best, and he’s standing on the sideline.

“Sometimes these games are too big for people.” 

Lee Grace is red carded be referee Paul McLoughlin Lee Grace is sent off by referee Paul McLaughlin. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Bradley went on to further criticise referee McLaughlin for refusing to explain his decisions. 

“The scary thing is they don’t even give you the respect of speaking to you. The good ones speak to you. The good ones give you that respect as a man and speak to you.

“But it’s actually unbelievable. Big, big games, we have to look at who is taking charge of them as it’s not acceptable.

We can’t keep coming in after big games and looking at decisions like that, as it’s taken away from it. Look at tonight: it’s on TV, there’s six and a half thousand [at the game], it’s a great advertisement for the League and it’s ruined as he’s not big enough for the game.

“I just asked to speak [to McLaughlin], and they don’t speak to you. The good ones do speak to you, and they explain decisions and right or wrong, you have to accept it.

“They don’t speak to you…it’s unbelievable.”

Bradley’s post-match emotions were also mingled with pride, having seen his players carve out a number of second-half chances to snatch a draw having played more than half the game with nine players. 

Yeah, like I said I’m genuinely proud of each and every one of them. A lot of teams would fold there. They are playing 60 minutes with nine men, a lot of teams would fold but we didn’t.

“We worked really hard for each other, I think we had three chances in the second-half to get a draw. So immensely proud of each and every one of them. If they produce that in every game, we will be right up there come the end of the season.” 

Rovers remain top of the league, five and seven points clear of Bohemians and Dundalk respectively having played a game more. They travel to Oriel Park to play the champions on Friday night, with Bradley embracing the challenge as an ideal follow-up to more derby disappointment. 

“The last thing you want after a game like that and a crowd like that is to go into a game where there is little or nobody watching, and all that comes with that.

“We know Oriel Park on Friday will be bouncing, and they’ll be at it. That’s exactly what you want.” 

Rovers have injury concerns over defender Sean Kavanagh and goalkeeper Alan Mannus, who hurt his hand in the clash with Dinny Corcoran that ended in the decisive goal. 

- Originally published at 07.00

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Gavin Cooney

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