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Brennan's ref rage

By John Campbell

The penalty that was and the penalty that wasn't formed an intriguing sub-plot to yesterday's Ulster football final - sparked an angry reaction from Derry manager John Brennan.

While Donegal boss Jim McGuinness not surprisingly lauded his side, referring to their "massive commitment" he revealed that he was "unaware" there had been a case for a Derry penalty when substitute Emmet McGuckin, who had only been on the pitch fort a few minutes, appeared to be fouled in the 64th minute.

While McGuinness and his assistant, former Fermanagh ace Rory Gallagher, basked in euphoria, Brennan was left fuming.

McGuinness said: "I am just so delighted for my players because they have now got some reward for their effort. They have shown tremendous commitment and I know that they are capable of pushing on from here."

And Gallagher stressed that Donegal's adherence to their game plan had proved a major contributory to the victory.

"Each player knew the job he had to do and carried it out well. That is what stood to us," declared Gallagher.

While his elation and that of McGuinness was understandable, Brennan was anything but happy with the performance of Laois referee Maurice Deegan.

"I am not blaming Donegal in relation to the awarding of their penalty. I feel though that the referee was maybe sixty yards away when he made the decision. He was asked to consult with his umpires and refused to do so," rapped Brennan.

"I have consistently asked that we as managers should be allowed to seek clarification from referees in relation to some of the decisions they make.

"We are not allowed to do this. But what the referee did out there in this match was wrong. His umpires are there for the simple reason that he consults with them but he did not choose to do this."

Brennan added: "I felt that the Donegal penalty was the turning point in the game.

"A little while later we had a player who was man-handled, to put it mildly, and we did not get a penalty.

"How can you legislate for the fact that we had two strong penalty claims and got none of them and yet our goalkeeper comes out, collides with one of their players and they get a penalty from which they score a vital goal?"

And addressing the media he said: "Try and get inside the brain of the referee, don't try and get inside mine. Try to ask him is there something that applies in Portlaoise which I am unaware of in Derry. Let him tell me how he arrived at that decision from sixty odd metres away.

"Let him be a gentleman and come and talk to me man to man. I just want to know why he thought what our goalkeeper did justified the awarding of a penalty."

But Brennan also admitted that his inside line had lacked real bite - indeed, the eight points which Derry registered is one of the lowest to have been recorded in the recent history of the Ulster final.

"I know that our inside forwards found it hard going and I feel sorry for them," he said.

And when asked if he might seek extra breathing space in advance of his team's scheduled fixture against Kildare on Saturday he queried: "How can you possibly ask for a decision like this to be made following the decisions that were made in this match against Donegal?

"I am only a manager. I have nothing to do with making the rules and regulations.

"Ask Croke Park, they are the people who decide what happens. Cork and Kerry are cute as usual, they have three weeks respite. When we did not get a fair decision in this match I would not expect to get another fair decision."

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