DUNDALK striker, Pat Hoban, is hoping the FAI throw the book at Derry City skipper Cliff Byrne for what he described as a ‘disgraceful’ challenge at Brandywell Stadium on Friday night.
Byrne was shown a straight red card on 70 minutes for an ‘off the ball’ clash with Hoban, who was introduced as a substitute less than 60 seconds earlier.
The ‘Lilywhites’ striker alleged he was hit with an elbow in the face by Byrne - an incident which wasn’t spotted by the referee. However, after consulting with his assistant match official, Rob Rogers flashed a red card which proved the turning point in the game with Derry leading 2-1 at that early stage in the second half.
And Hoban claims the incident was worse than Uruguay striker, Luis Suarez’s bite on Italian defender, Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil last week!
“I was literally on the pitch and I turned around and he went bang,” said Hoban.
“In my mind, what he did was worse than what Luis Suarez did at the World Cup. I hope it’s shown on ‘Soccer Republic’ because it was a disgrace. He went to do me, no doubt about it.”
Did he believe it was a case of retribution for the incident from the league game at Oriel Park in April which saw City’s Ryan McBride hospitalised following a clash of heads with Hoban?
“I don’t know,” said Hoban who protested his innocence after that particular clash. “If Derry City are trying to take something out of the game at Oriel Park, then it’s a disgrace really. There was no menace in the Ryan McBride tackle from that game.
“It doesn’t hurt, but he could have caught me right. It’s not on and he shouldn’t be doing it on a football pitch. He is experienced enough to know that.
“You don’t want to see anybody get punished in this game but he should get extra games for something like that,” added the striker.
‘A coming together’
As for Byrne, the City centre half refused to get involved in a war of words with the Dundalk man, claiming his challenge was simply ‘a coming together.’
And the Dubliner, who was delighted with his side’s performance on the night - which was arguably the best of the season - preferred instead to concentrate on the positives from their 2-2 result.
“It was a coming together,” he said of the incident. “It’s something that will be sorted out, I’m sure and it’s not something I really want to go into.
“The thing I really want to concentrate on is the performance from our team and look ahead to the next game.
“We wanted to keep our focus on Dundalk because that’s our bread and butter.
“But that performance has given the fans something to shout about and they got right behind the team when we were against the odds and down to 10 men.
“The players really appreciate that and we want to see them back at Brandywell in their numbers and, hopefully, we can give them performances to be proud of.
“We’re very disappointed, so it just goes to show you how far we’ve come in such a short space of time that we’re disappointed not to pick up all three points against the league leaders.
“Anyone who was at the game would have seen who the better team was.
“Unfortunately that doesn’t always earn you the three points but there’s lots of positives.
“The fans were terrific. They could see that we were going about our business in the right manner and they were getting behind us, so that was a big positive.
“As a group they are buying into what the manager and the backroom staff want.
“We’re all pulling in the one direction so it’s all very positive and what had been a dificult start t the season.”
“It’s been a difficult start to the season for all the changes in personnel and management.
“That’s part and parcel in football. “
For us players we’re sent out as 11 to win games so we can’t use any excuses.
“Like you seen against Dundalk the performances are there. The endeavour and work rate is getting there in bundles.
The fitness is picking up now no end and we’ve got quality players. I’ve said that from day one when I came into this club I’ve come here to be successful and to win things.
“We want to give Derry a team they can be proud of. We’re seeing the fruits of that now.”
Fortuitous Dundalk Goals
Byrne felt the visitors were fortunate to salvage a draw from the game and was impressed with the response from his teammates as they bounced back from an early deficit.
“It was a fortuitous goal from their point of goal,” he said. “It flicked off one of our lads which allowed their man to be onside but we responded straight away.
“We’ve got good quality and good character throughout the squad but we’ve got to be at full tilt week in, week out.
“The consistency has to be at a higher level than what it’s been at this last couple of weeks.
“But it’s certainly going in the right direction. I believe we were the better team for large parts of the game. You’re not going to dominate the entire game from start to finish but Michael Duffy’s goal is exactly what we can conjure up in this team.
“We’ve got a lot of quality, we’ve got match winners who can dig something out of nothing when we’re on top.
“It was a joy to play behind our front six against Dundalk. It made it a bit more comfortable than what it has been recently,” he concluded.