Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

I was sorry to give referee decision to make: Northern Ireland's Gareth McAuley

By Steven Beacom

Published 25/03/2016

Sorry: Gareth McAuley held his hands up in Cardiff
Sorry: Gareth McAuley held his hands up in Cardiff

Northern Ireland defender Gareth McAuley admitted that he said sorry to his team-mates in the dressing room after a late penalty was awarded against him to earn Wales a 1-1 draw.

With Northern Ireland leading, McAuley challenged Simon Church in the 89th minute and when the forward dropped to the turf, referee Steven McLean handed the Welsh a spot-kick which was converted by Church.

McAuley thought it was a harsh call at the time, but was big enough to apologise to his pals afterwards.

"I'm not sure it was a penalty, but I said sorry to the boys in the dressing room because I gave the referee a decision to make and unfortunately it went against us," stated the West Brom star.

Earlier Craig Cathcart had given Northern Ireland the lead 15 minutes into the second half, in which manager Michael O'Neill had decided to switch his system to 4-5-1/4-3-3 after adopting a 3-5-2 formation in the first period.

Cathcart said: "We had a difficult first half when we came under a little bit of pressure but we managed to see that first half out. I think the change of formation probably helped us and for me to get the first goal was great. It was just disappointing it wasn't the winner in the end."

The draw equalled Northern Ireland's previous record of nine unbeaten games in-a-row. The chance to break it will come on Monday at home to Slovenia.

Cathcart added: "We want to keep breaking records. We have managed to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals, are on a really good run of form and we want to take it into the next friendly and the tournament as well."

Wales' Simon Church scores his sides first goal of the game from t he penlaty spot during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PA
Wales' Simon Church scores his sides first goal of the game from t he penlaty spot during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PA
Wales' Simon Church celebrates scoring his sides first goal of the game during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PA
Goalkeeper Michael McGovern of Northern Ireland applauds the fans following the 1-1 draw during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PA
Craig Cathcart #20 of Northern Ireland celebrates with teammate Kyle Rafferty #10 after scoring the opening goal during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Craig Cathcart #20 of Northern Ireland celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Craig Cathcart (right) celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PA
Ashley Williams of Wales heads the ball clear under pressure from Paddy McNair and Gareth McAuley of Northern Ireland during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Joe Ledley of Wales and Steven Davis of Northern Ireland battle for the ball
Wales Joe Ledley (left) and Northern Ireland's Steven Davis battle for the ball during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Wales. Photo credit should read: David Davies/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 24: Steven Davis of Northern Ireland is brought down by David Vaughan of Wales during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 24: The Northern Ireland team prepare to defend a corner during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 24: Tom Lawrence of Wales goes past Conor McLaughlin and Craig Cathcart of Northern Ireland during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, WALES - MARCH 24: Joe Ledley of Wales and Steven Davis of Northern Ireland battle for the ball during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Wales' and Northern Ireland (backs to camera) pose for a minutes silence in memory of Belgium terror attacks during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PA
The Northern Ireland team pose for the cameras prior to kickoff during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
The opposing teams and match officials observe a minutes silence in remembrance to the victims of this week's terrorist attacks in Brussels during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Craig Cathcart of Northern Ireland holds off David Cotterill of Wales during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Northern Ireland's Michael O'Neill (right) shakes hands with Wales' manager Chris Coleman during the International Friendly at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 24, 2016. See PA story SOCCER Wales. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Editorial use only, No commercial use without prior permission, please contact PA Images for further information: Tel: +44 (0) 115 8447447.
The Wales team line up for a minutes silence in remembrance of Johan Cruyff prior to kickoff during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
A general view of the Cardiff City Stadium prior to kick-off. PA
A young Wales fan cheers on their team during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
A general view of the Cardiff City Stadium prior to kick-off. PA
A young Wales fan cheers on their team during the international friendly match between Wales and Northern Ireland at the Cardiff City Stadium on March 24, 2016 in Cardiff, Wales. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
A raise the flag card attached to a seat in the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff. PA
Northern Ireland coach Michael O' Neill and captain Steven Davis face the media ahead of their match against Wales at Cardiff City stadium (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Belfast Telegraph

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph