DERRY City defender, Shane McEleney, remains frustrated at having been shown a red card while in the dugout during the latter stages of Saturday night’s EA Sports League Cup final victory at Turner’s Cross.
ARTHUR DUFFY reports
The 21-year-old, who admits jumping out of the dugout, suggesting that the referee’s decision to award Cork City a “hand ball” when a home player had committed a foul, was a disgrace, received a straight “red” from match official, Paul Tuite after his fourth assistant, Anthony Buttimer had pointed the matter out to the referee.
“I did say that the referee’s decision was a disgrace as he ignored what we believed was a foul, but I certainly never expected to receive a red card and, of course, an automatic one match suspension,” said the player yesterday.
“The referee came over, he didn’t even ask me anything, just raised the red card and ordered me out of the dugout. I was in shock,” added Shane.
The player, however, refused to allow the incident spoil his side’s victory which saw the player collect his second senior medal in successive seasons after last year’s First Division triumph.
“It was an amazing decision for me, but I didn’t allow it dampen our celebrations in any way. It was all about winning the game in front of a large Cork attendance and the team achieved that, so that’s all that mattered.
“The journey home was much more enjoyable with the League Cup in the bus and we had a great night,” he concluded.
McEleney will now miss this Friday night’s clash against Bray at the Brandywell for his indiscretion while versatile midfielder, Barry Molloy, is also ruled out having received four yellow cards. Indeed, with Eddie McCallion struggling with a calf injury, which effectively ruled him out of Saturday’s final, team boss, Stephen Kenny, will again be forced into a number of changes.
Meanwhile, for Derry City captain, Kevin Deery, it was certainly an enjoyable weekend, the central midfielder playing an integral role in his team’s 10th League Cup victory.
Indeed, last season the skipper was forced to sit out the final game of the season in Monaghan due to injury, then vice-captain, Mark McChrystal, stepping in but raising the EA Sports Cup had given him a personal lift.
“It was a great game to be involved in,” declared the Creggan man after the game as he reflected back on club’s financial collapse at the end of the 2009 campaign.
“For us to bounce back to win the First Division Championship and now the League Cup after the club’s near collapse two years ago, says quite a lot about everyone involved with the club,” added Deery.
“It’s a terrific double and a tremendous achievement for both the players and the staff. Cork gave us a great game and with the set-up they have at Turner’s Cross, I really hope they get back up to the top flight.
“I think the Premier Division needs teams like Cork City and the sooner they gain promotion the better for both the club and the league,” he maintained.
“Turner’s Cross was a fitting facility for the final and, fortunately, we got the result we needed. I think it was a penalty kick. I had a shot and it’s struck the defender’s arm inside the box and I really think the referee had no option but to point to the spot.
“Cork had their chances to score, especially when they hit the post. It took us a while to get to grips with the game but Eamon Zayed kept his cool to score the penalty and that was all that mattered,” said Deery.
Now that the League Cup would accompany the First Division Trophy and the ‘A’ Championship Cup in the Brandywell Trophy Cabinet, Deery said his side would now be fully focused on the Premier Division title race.
“The League Cup has been and gone and we’ll all take great confidence from the victory, but our challenge now is to go on and win the Premier Division. We have six games left and they will be six massive matches, but it’s important that everything remains in our own hands. Win the final six matches - which is a tough call - but if we do, we win the league title and that would be unbelieveable for the club.
“I still think there will be a few twists and turns in the run-in, but we’re not frightened of any team. We have three matches away and three matches at home and we can’t afford to look beyond this Friday night’s game against Bray, that’s our next challenge,” concluded Deery.