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Frustrated McGeeney at odds with key decisions

Armagh 1-13 Clare 2-10

By John Campbell

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney may have felt aggrieved at having seen his side have to forfeit home advantage for this Allianz Football League encounter at Pairc Esler, Newry, yesterday but what occurred there served to add insult to injury, from his perspective.

McGeeney took issue with both Clare goals, was clearly disappointed that Jamie Clarke was red-carded in the 30th minute and lamented the fact that his side appear to be bearing the brunt of what he feels are some harsh refereeing decisions.

If his side missed the boat against Kildare last week-end, then this was another so near yet so far episode with another point dropped.

"I honestly have had a look again at both Clare goals and I believe that neither should have stood," insists McGeeney, "The first one was fisted straight into the net by their substitute Gavin Cooney which is not allowed and I am convinced that the ball did not cross the line for their late second goal which was a big setback."

"Those are the calls that go against you and they are hard to take.

"It's six points conceded. And the dismissal of Jamie Clarke was harsh because he seemed to shove the Clare player across the chest but he went down holding his face.

"But what can you do, you just have to take it."

"That seems to be football these days as far as I can see."

Understandably, Clare boss Collins was more concerned with the welfare of Dermot Coughlan whose serious injury after just 20 seconds resulted in a 12-minute delay in play before he was removed to hospital.

"Obviously that was a setback and I honestly thought that the game maybe should not have been played because of the extent of front there was underneath the surface," said Collins.

By half-time Clarke had already been red-carded, his team trailed by 1-8 to 1-6 with Gregory McCabe's goal sustaining their challenge before Gavin Cooney found the net for Clare but when Clare lost Cathal O'Connor to a red card in the 54th minute, Armagh, with Jemar Hall, Joe McElroy and Rory Grugan prominent, surged into a 1-13 to 1-9 lead.

It was the majestic David Tubridy who ultimately salvaged what is Clare's first league point. After flighting over his seventh point, he drilled in a free from the sideline that eluded the Armagh defence and ended up in the net.

Yet although McGeeney was ckearly frustrrated by some of the refreering decisions, he still focused on what he felt were plus factors from his team's performance.

"I thought the boys worked hard and did their best.

"When there is only one score between the sides coming up to the finish you are always facing into the possibility that things can go against you but I still feel that we are going in the right direction although we have a lot of work to do," declared the Armagh boss.

Clarke is certain to be an absentee for the team's next game but McGeeney is encouraged by the effort put in by his substitutes.

"There are players there who are doing their best and they have shown that they are improving all the time," he adds.

"You would have to saay that this is encouraging."

Armagh: B Hughes; A McKay, J Morgan, M Shields; C Mackin 0-1, G McCabe 1-1, A Forker; S Sheridan, N Grimley 0-3 (2f); J Hall 0-2, R Grugan 0-1 f), C Vernon 0-1; S Campbell, R O'Neill 0-3 (1f), J Clarke: Subs: J McElroy for Campbell (51), R McShane for Vernon (56), J Duffy for Shields (63), R McQuillan for hall (67). Yellow cards: McKay (28), Shields (35), Grugan (35+9), Hall (42), Morgan (50). Red card: Clarke (30). McKay (two yellows 72).

Clare: P DeLoughrey; K Harnett, C Brennan, G Kelly 0-1; D Ryan, C hAinifein, D Masterson 0-1; G Brennan, C O'Connor; C O'Dea, J Malone, D Coughlan; K Malone 0-1, K Sexton, D Tubridy 1-7 (4f). Subs: G Cooney 1-0 for Coughlan (1 min), E Collins for Masterson (46), D Bohannon for K Malone (59), G O'Brien for J Malone (66), C Murray for Sexton (66). Yellow cards: Masterson (32), J Malone (42), Cooney (50), Kelly (55). Red card: O'Connor (54).

Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath).

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