DERRY CITY: Refs lack mental strength to officiate top games - says Shiels

Kenny Shiels believes referee Paul McLaughlin

got the decision to send off Ryan McBride wrong on Friday night. Photograph by Stephen  Hamilton/Presseye

Kenny Shiels believes referee Paul McLaughlin got the decision to send off Ryan McBride wrong on Friday night. Photograph by Stephen Hamilton/Presseye

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DERRY CITY boss, Kenny Shiels claims FAI referees don’t have the mental strength to officiate the league’s top matches.

The City manager felt aggrieved after match official, Paul McLaughlin flashed a straight red card at his skipper, Ryan McBride 29 minutes into Friday’s top of the table clash against Dundalk.

Derry's Ryan McBride gets straight red from referee Paul McLaughlin.

Derry's Ryan McBride gets straight red from referee Paul McLaughlin.

That sending off, he felt, spoiled what could have been a great spectacle for supporters as the home side attempted to claw back an early two goal deficit.

Instead, the sending off sparked a mass exodus of home fans who left the Lone Moor Road venue predicting the worst for their team.

In the reverse fixture back in April at Oriel Park, Conor McCormack and Dundalk’s Chris Shields were both given their marching orders by referee, Padraigh Sutton.

Shields also saw red in the meeting of the ‘big two’, when Cork defeated Dundalk 1-0 last month while defender, Brian Gartland was sent off in the President’s Cup final meeting between the two teams in February by referee, Graham Kelly.

The referees don’t have the mental strength to referee the big games,

Kenny Shiels

And Gary McCabe was dismissed in the first half of Dundalk’s victory over Shamrock Rovers in Tallaght earlier this season.

And so Shiels reckons the FAI’s officials are not managing the big games very well this season.

“If there’s malice in it then it’s a red card,” Shiels said of McBride’s dismissal on Friday night.

“It was a slide tackle. How can you send someone off for a mistimed slide tackle? It’s a yellow card.

“I don’t want to see anyone booked but they had one player booked. They can’t referee the big games. In the Cork against Dundalk game there was a sending off.

“When we were equal top with Dundalk there were two sendings off. “Cork played Dundalk again and there was a sending off. And there was another sending off tonight.

“The referees don’t have the mental strength to referee the big games,” he added.