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We should have won despite dismissal, insists McCorry


Red alert: Referee Eddie Kinsella sends off Down's Conaill McGovern

Red alert: Referee Eddie Kinsella sends off Down's Conaill McGovern

Lorcan Doherty

Red alert: Referee Eddie Kinsella sends off Down's Conaill McGovern

Yet again, the mystery of the team scorned after a red card occurred in the first minute of the second half, with Down defender Conaill McGovern dismissed after an incident involving Derry's Enda Lynn.

Derry manager Brian McIver's gut reaction was one of pessimism.

"I said to one of the selectors just after it happened 'this will do us no favours'. So often in the past I have seen it happening. I would love to get an explanation as to why teams do that. But we got out of it with a result."

Pressed to describe his perspective of the incident, he admitted he never spotted it.

"From what I can gather it was a strike and I know the Down lad will be annoyed at getting sent off," explained the Ardboe man.

"Without seeing it, it's very unfair of me to make a judgment call on that, it appeared as if it was definitely a strike."

Although Down manager Jim McCorry did not catch it either, he suggested something underhand was in the offing.

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"I asked Conaill and he pleaded that he had done nothing wrong. We will have a look again at the tape and I think some of the view is that it was very much orchestrated and there was very little in it, and that pressure was brought to bear on the umpires."

McCorry cannot be but dismayed that Down had the chances at the end, but frittered away momentum and opportunities at the death.

He acknowledged: "We were the dominant team in the second half. They missed the few scores in the first half as well, frees they would normally put away.

"But there's no doubt about it. It was a game in my view we should have won, and we will learn from that."

Our old friend, white-line fever gripped Derry, but they still had enough experience and craft to fashion McIver's first win the Ulster Championship from his third consecutive attempt on home soil yesterday.

"We went into our shell," said McIver afterwards of Derry's tendency to curl up into a ball.

"We had the extra man, seemed to over-elaborate, took too long on the ball, took too long to get the kick-outs moving, came across the field whereas we were moving the ball at pace in the first half."

Asked about the performance of the returning Eoin 'Skinner' Bradley, who scored five points and was a nightmare to deal with for the Down defence, McIver enthused: "He has really looked forward to getting back playing football for us.

"You know what you're going to get with 'Skinner', he'll give you everything on the pitch and that's what he did today. He was a real handful and a threat for them every time we attacked."

One particularly generous call from referee Eddie Kinsella after a Bradley tumble suggested that he had picked up plenty from his time dabbling in the Irish League with Glenavon.

McIver chose to set the can opener down, keeping the worms inside the tin by deflecting with a chuckle: "We're not going there. But he played really well. A really gutsy performance."

McCorry hadn't thought he would be tuning into the qualifiers draw this morning at 8am, but revealed: "We'll be back in this week straight away. Maybe we'll get a home draw!

"But our performances on the road are good. We'll learn from that, same as we did in the Division Two final."

McIver meanwhile, has the victors of Donegal and Armagh to look forward to. In the meantime, he will work on a defence that conceded seven converted frees.

"It's one of the things we'll talk about yeah, but hopefully the referee will see the frees in a different light the next day. That's as diplomatic as I can put it."

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