Belfast Telegraph

Like BOD in 2011, McFadden lucky to escape a red

Fergus McFadden
Fergus McFadden
Chris Henry

By Chris Henry

Ulster v Leinster, George Clancy in charge and a swing taken by somebody in blue.

The Sean Reidy and Fergus McFadden alleged headbutting incident on Saturday brought me back to my own playing days and 2011 with Brian O'Driscoll aiming a punch square at my nose.

BOD saw no sanction that day, nor indeed afterwards from the citing commissioner, although it was always suspected that Ireland commitments over the summer had something to do with that decision.

At the time I remember thinking, while nobody wants to get a dig to the face, that Brian was going to get sent off and in turn we were about to see our chances of winning the game greatly increase.

Like Sean at the weekend, I didn't go down but knew it was an incident that warranted a dismissal.

I couldn't believe it when Clancy didn't show the card and I'm sure Sean felt the same on Saturday.

Unlike us in 2011 - a league semi-final no less - Ulster got the result regardless this time but it's not a case of no harm, no foul. I know and like Fergus but that was a moment of madness that should have been punished. Games can turn on such moments and referees have to be willing to make the big calls, unpopular or not.

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