Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 24 May 2016

O’Neill left spitting mad after north Belfast derby

By Graham Luney

Published 29/12/2012

Sean O’Neill has slammed claims he spat at a Cliftonville player in the north Belfast derby at Solitude.

The Crusaders goalkeeper is upset at the allegations that surfaced during the game which Cliftonville won 1-0.

O’Neill was shocked to learn of claims he had spat in the direction of Reds midfielder Ryan Catney and he hit out at the allegations on Twitter after the game.

The former Dungannon Swifts stopper and Catney were booked as tempers began to fray but O’Neill maintains he was never guilt of any spitting offence.

“Barry Johnston asked me did I spit at Ryan Catney and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” said O’Neill.

“I went straight to Ryan after the game because I was upset at the claims and they are totally untrue.

“Obviously we were disappointed to lose the game but you don’t want to have to deal with something like this either.”

O’Neill doesn’t believe the incident will generate any more animosity between the two sets of players who are scheduled to meet in the IRN-BRU League Cup final next month.

“I only want to focus on football and win matches and trophies,” added O’Neill. “The Cup final will be another game we want to win, it’s as simple as that.

“Our number one priority is to win against Ballinamallard United on Saturday because you have to respond to a defeat if you want to stay in touch at the top.

“It was frustrating at Solitude because we had enough chances to win the game and didn’t take them. Joe (Gormley) took his chance well but there’s a long way to go. No medals are handed out in December and no-one will give up the chase.

“If we took that attitude then what would be the point in us turning up at Ballinamallard?

“But it’s a big game for us now after losing to Cliftonville.”

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