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Forker getting a raw deal from referees, says McGeeney

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney believes that Aidan Forker's disciplinary record is tending to influence referees as the Allianz Football League unfolds.

The Maghery clubman was dismissed after only 50 seconds of the win over Louth on Sunday by Down referee Ciaran Brangan following a brush with the home side's Derek Maguire.

Having been forced to start without Stefan Campbell, Andrew Murnin and Mark Shields, the loss of Forker for what appeared to be an innocuous offence was initially seen as a hammer blow by the Armagh fans.

But their side went on to record a handsome 3-15 to 0-11 win and afterwards McGeeney took issue with Forker's dismissal - and the treatment of Ulster players in general at the hands of some whistlers.

"I thought it was a harsh decision. I know the hand struck but Aidan was just trying to push the Louth player back as anyone would. Reputations precede a lot of players," insisted McGeeney.

Forker is no stranger to bookings this year - he was sent off in the defeat to Laois - but still remains one of the Orchard's most wholehearted and committed players.

And McGeeney is in no doubt that there is one law for some and another for others when it comes to interpreting a few of the playing rules.

"If you look at the Kerry versus Dublin game on Saturday night, people will say that it was manly and that's how it should be played," pointed out the Armagh boss. "'Manly' and 'robust' were the words used by some of the media to describe the game. But then if teams from further north play in much the same way it seems to be described as 'thuggish' and 'bad behaviour'.

"It's very disappointing for Aidan. He would have known that he was stupid in what he did against Laois at the Athletic Grounds but I don't think he should have been sent off for what he did against Louth."

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