James McClean, Jon Walters and Martin O'Neill have their say on refereeing against Austria 4 years ago

James McClean, Jon Walters and Martin O'Neill have their say on refereeing against Austria

The Republic of Ireland remain unbeaten in their World Cup qualifying campaign, but no one's in high spirits after the Austria game.

Martin Hinteregger's beautiful opener was about as much as the Boys In Green deserved for their poor showing in the first half on Sunday. It took a few choice substitutions and a stellar finish from Jon Walters to salvage a draw, but Ireland did have the ball in the net again before the full-time whistle sounded.

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Unfortunately, Shane Duffy fouled an Austrian defender on the line, just before the ball hit the net. A few moments later, there was a penalty shout on Jon Walters which, if converted, would have secured all three points for the home team.

However, Eamon Dunphy in the RTE studio saw it as two points lost for a very different reason. Rather than pointing the finger of blame at the referee, he pointed it squarely at Martin O'Neill for the team selection, which he feels was wrong.

James McClean was the first player to be interviewed on the live broadcast of the game. He kept his assessment of the referee's performance brief, but he more than hinted that he was favouring the visitors with some of his decisions.

"Yous (sic) watched the game, yous tell me. They had a 12th man today. That's all I'll say. I'm really disappointed because we should have came away from that game with three points."

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Man of the match Walters echoed this sentiment. He went a step further though, pinpointing the disallowed goal and the penalty claim as key moments in the game the referee got wrong.

"Duffy got a goal at the end, no chance that's a free kick. And just before that, it's a penalty on me. As I pulled my foot back, there was contact just before I hit the ball."

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O'Neill also felt that the goal should have stood. In his eyes, that call summed up the referee's performance as a whole.

"It is a goal, there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. I personally think that typified the referee's performance today. He let a lot of things go. If that's the case, then well let this go, if he's calling a foul on Shane Duffy. I can't see it. I can't see it. The linesman has thought he's given the goal and he's almost up at the halfway line before he's called back."

Although the manager admitted that the team's performance was poor in the first half and that all the blame couldn't be put on the referee, he still saw a lot of injustice on the pitch.

"Sometimes we contribute to our own downfall, we must admit. Let's not blame the referee for everthing. James McClean, in one particular instance, was fouled three times as he was trying to break free. He passed the ball then and the ball is misspassed and the referee's allowed play on. If you're thinking about that during the course of the game, then you have to think about a goal being given."

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