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Ballinderry manager Martin McKinless pushes for a review into crucial decisions

Ballinderry manager Martin McKinless is urging the GAA authorities to review the manner in which what he calls "game-changing" red card decisions are made by referees.

McKinless was furious when Kevin McGuckin, one of his most experienced players, was dismissed by Fermanagh whistler Martin Higgins in the 22nd minute of yesterday's Ulster club semi-final against Kilcoo and was equally upset when Ryan Scott was subsequently banished for incurring two yellow cards.

Now he wants Association chiefs to take "a long hard look" at the way "very rash decisions" are made.

"I thought the two decisions against us were very rash. In fairness, Kevin McGuckin was sent off but he never touched his opponent," insists McKinless.

"This kind of thing changes games. They have to look at it, there's no doubt about that.

"Put it this this way, if Kevin had struck out then that's fair enough. But I know that he did not."

And the Ballinderry manager admits that while his side came out "on the right side" yesterday, red card woe also overtook Kilcoo in their quarter-final victory over Crossmaglen Rangers last week-end.

Kilcoo defender Daryl Branagan was sent off for striking but had his card rescinded and was declared free to play yesterday.

"Kilcoo won that game and appealed the card successfully. But things could have been different yesterday. We had lost two men while the game was there for the taking but Kilcoo only lost their players in the last couple of minutes when the game was already won," points out McKinless.

Ballinderry are set to appeal McGuckin's red card to the Ulster Council's Competitions Control Committee in the hope that the card will be rescinded and he will be available for selection in the Ulster final against Glenswilly on Sunday week.

For the second week in succession, a defeated manager exited the Ulster club series with dignity and decorum.

On Sunday last, Crossmaglen Rangers boss Joe Kernan, rather than dwell in negativity following his team's loss to Kilcoo, preferred instead to focus on 2014 while at the same time lauding Jim McCorry's side for the endeavour and skill.

And yesterday it was the turn of McCorry himself to lend a further dimension of sportsmanship and good grace to what is proving one of the most successful Ulster club competitions for many years.

Far from lamenting his side's misfortune in having to fulfil the fixture just a week after a demanding replay against Crossmaglen that had gone to extra-time just as the initial drawn game had done, McCorry heaped praise on Ballinderry.

"It's fairly simple really. The best team won on the day. When they had two men sent off, we didn't get to them. We sat back and did not use our extra man-power well," admitted McCorry.

Belfast Telegraph


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