"O'Leary made a meal of it"

18 March 2017

Slaughtneil's Padraig Cassidy reacts as Kieran O'Leary lies on the ground.
©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Slaughtneil's John Joe Kearney has claimed that the wool was pulled over the eyes of referee Maurice Deegan in the incident that led to Padraig Cassidy's dismissal at Croke Park yesterday.

The Derry and Ulster champions were forced to play the second-half of the Andy Merrigan Cup decider with 14 men after their midfielder was sent to the line during first-half stoppage time for a strike on Dr Crokes' Kieran O'Leary.

“He was under pressure and an innocuous flick of the hand was all he did and young O'Leary made a meal of it,” Kearney remarked to The Belfast Telegraph.

“If he had been hurt he wouldn't have been able to pick himself up and go out and play for the hour. You can't argue that he (Cassidy) did something he shouldn't have and I'm sure he'll regret it for many a day, but it was an innocuous flick with the back of the hand. Many others would have got up and got on with the game.

“As I see it there was an opportunity for getting somebody sent off and I have no regrets about saying that. We lost our attacking midfielder and I'm sure he's hurting too.”