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Refs' chief dismayed by Coleraine family affair

By Keith Thomas

Coleraine 2 Ards 0: Chief Refereeing Officer David Malcolm has admitted that Gavin Hegarty should not have officiated during Coleraine's vital 2-0 victory over Ards.

Assistant ref Hegarty, brother of home skipper Michael, was taking part in his first senior match but Malcolm – the man who presides over NI Football League appointments – was dismayed to learn of the pair's family ties.

"If I had known, Gavin would not have been appointed for that game," he said.

"I don't know whether Gavin declared that information to the IFA prior to the start of the season but he didn't make me aware of it.

"This, though, is not a question of Gavin's integrity – it is a perception issue, a perception that he could influence the game because of his relationship. That perception should not have been there."

That controversy aside, the Bannsiders were good value for the win which ended their nine-match losing streak.

Stephen Dooley – signed up on a short-term deal prior to his return to the United States – opened the scoring on 55 minutes and, despite the hosts having defender David Ogilby red carded for denying Willie Faulkner a goalscoring opportunity, Eoin Bradley's penalty made safe the points.

Coleraine: Ferry, Canning, Douglas, Ogilby, McIlmoyle, Harkin, Hegarty, Lowry (Tommons, 82 mins), Dooley (Carson, 88 mins), Bradley, McDaid (Beverland, 61 mins).

Ards: Blayney, Gordon, Hunter, Armstrong, McCullough, Smith (McMillen, 60 mins), Knowles, Faulkner, Mitchell (Davidson, 60 mins), McClelland (Arthurs, 60 mins), Dougan 6.

Referee: Arnold Hunter (Maguiresbridge).

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