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22nd Jul 2018

Kevin McStay has not helped himself with post-match comments on linesman

Patrick McCarry

The Roscommon boss admitted he got “agitated” during a flashpoint in his side’s loss to Donegal.

Coming up on half-time in Roscommon’s Super 8s clash with Donegal, McStay was livid that an apparent kick on one of his players had not been spotted by the match officials.

The Rossies manager admitted, post-match, that the referee could have been unsighted but he was fuming that linesman Niall Cullen, who had a clear view of the incident, did not raise his voice, or flag.

McStay ran towards Cullen to protest and appeared to lay a firm hand on the linesman’s midriff before players from both sides pitched in and ref Ciaran Brannigan opted to blow up for a half-time break.

McStay told reporters, after his side’s defeat, that he apologised to the match officials for getting carried away. He insisted that he had not been sent off and said disciplinary measures were out of his hand. “We’ll see how it pans out,” he remarked.

Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly received a 12-week ban during last year’s championship for pushing the linesman in his side’s win over Carlow. The footage and pictures of McStay’s protest look as bad as Connolly’s so we may be hearing more on the matter.

McStay rarely shirks a question, before or after matches, and Saturday evening was no different.

However, the former Mayo boss may end up regretting his comments, as carried on Today FM’s Championship Sunday, when he suggested some match officials lacked empathy and respect, and certain linesmen went around acting like hard men.

“If he didn’t see [the kick] he was the only person in the stadium that didn’t see it. It was a completely obvious call….

“I’ve come across a lot of this officiating over the last two years. Some of these linesmen are incredibly precious; they like to play the hard man when they are on. It’s not very pleasant when you are trying to manage a team. all you are looking for is a bit of civility and a bit of decency, but they just dismiss you like you’ve nothing to do with the bloody occasion.

“I’ve put a lot of time into it, and I was agitated maybe more than I should have been. We’re all trying. We’re all trying to get the win.”

The Roscommon boss insisted he had come across many fair and courteous officials but accused others, after a pause, of being ‘less than generous with their time’.

As for the incident with Cullen, McStay commented:

“I apologised to the referee at half-time. Apparently the ball struck him in the back of the head. That was totally an accident. I was throwing the ball back to where I thought the free was given.

“And then I realised they had called half-time. So, I came in and I was annoyed but I came in immediately and said sorry… but the linesman said I had been aggressive to him and he complained to the referee, who had no option but to take some action.”

McStay had no complaints with Donegal’s victory and said he wished Declan Bonner, their boss, all the best for their next match against Donegal. Harking back to the match officials, McStay added:

“It’s the one thing this association can’t seem to get right – its’ officiating. You know, good officiating where they are tuned into all that is going on around the place. There’s an awful lot going on on a football field that isn’t even being reffed, nowadays. It’s just left to the players to sort out, at this stage.

“That’s the disappointing thing but, overall, I’m not too disappointed. The best team won.”

Roscommon have no chance of reaching the All-Ireland semi-final after their losses to Tyrone and Donegal. Up next are reigning champions Dublin in Croke Park in early August.

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