Describing Stewart Greacen’s sending-off as a “bolt out of the blue,” Brandywell boss, Declan Devine was far from happy with the referee’s decision.
“We totally controlled the game up to that point and I just couldn’t see us losing our grip on it,” claimed the Derry boss.
“Then Stewart was sensationally shown a second yellow card for what appeared to be an innocuous challenge and that decision changed the pattern of the game,” he added.
“Our players seemed to go into total shock and with the big crowd beginning to come to life after the decision, Cork improved and put us under pressure for the first time in the game.
“I’ve never witnessed a game swing like that in my life,” continued the Derry boss. “The referee’s decision totally knocked the players out of their stride and from a point of winning three points, we were forced to travel home with just one.”
And Devine also confirmed that the game’s fourth official, Anthony Buttimer, agreed that the challenge did not merit a yellow card.
“The fourth official told me that the referee had made a mistake as the challenge did not merit a yellow card, but those mistakes are costing us and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“We’ve had Rory Patterson sent off against Shelbourne at Tolka Park, which was a very poor decision; we’ve had Patrick McEleney sent off at Tallaght which was also a very poor decision and now we’ve had Stewart Greacen sent off in Cork. yet we can do nothing.
“In all cases, the officials hold their hands up and apologise, but the players must still serve their suspensions and that certainly doesn’t help us,” maintained Devine.
“An outsider would get the impression that we are a physical team, which is not the case and I’m beginning to get the feeling that referees officiating at our matches are now preparing for robust games, which is certainly not the case.”
Situations Should Be Rectified
Insisting that the challenge was “nowhere near” a yellow card, Devine insisted that something must be done to rectify such situations.
“The sending off was a crazy decision. It changed the game, saw us having to play out the final half an hour with just 10 men and now Stewart will serve an automatic one match suspension for a crime he didn’t commit.
“The referee may well hold up his hand and state that he made a mistake, but that doesn’t help us as the player must serve the suspension. As far as I know, referee’s can withdraw red cards, but not a yellow.
“We had led 2-0 in a game which we controlled. We never looked in danger of conceding a goal after Gerard Doherty had made a few decent saves in the opening half. We were comfortable and cruising when the referee flashed a second yellow card and, as a result, we dropped two vital points,” concluded Devine.