By Joseph Murray
Galway United assistant manager Ollie Horgan says the referee missed a “blatant penalty” following his team’s 1-0 loss to Bohemians in the FAI Cup semi-final on Saturday.
Dylan Connolly’s goal in the 45th-minute goal was enough to separate the sides, with United suffering their first home defeat this season in front of the RTÉ cameras at a sold-out Eamonn Deacy Park.
A contentious red card for Bohs defender Kacper Radkowski in the 59th minute gave United a lifeline in the last stages of the game, but they struggled to create chances against a resistant opposition defence.
As the clock ticked towards full-time, United threw caution to the wind and were denied a possible penalty in the 92nd minute when Stephen Walsh went down under a challenge from Bohemians midfielder Keith Buckley.
Following the game, Horgan hit out at referee Neil Doyle, saying: “I’ve said it year in, year out, there’s experienced officials out there and they’ve got to make a proper decision.
“I’m not blaming them for us losing, but the referee is out there, he’s the most experienced referee in the country, and he’s got to see the pull on Walsh. I think the whole country saw it.
“I’m sure that the league director will be ringing me, but I bit my tongue for ten years … today it was an out-and-out penalty. We looked at it in the camera before the end of the game and he got it wrong.”
“Standard goes up”
United had already cruised past top-flight opposition in previous rounds of the cup, with a 5-1 victory away to UCD and a 4-0 triumph at home to Dundalk giving fans hope of a repeat on Saturday.
However, the Tribesmen fell short against a Bohemians side that had only lost one game since the start of July, quashing hopes of a First Division league and cup double and their first FAI Cup final since 1991.
Despite gaining confidence from their previous victories, Horgan explained that they’re under no illusions about the quality that awaits them in the top flight, saying: “They’re a Premier Division side … we know that there’s a savage gap in the divisions.
“I think the UCD game might have blurred it a little bit because they had lost their team from last year. Probably the Dundalk one is the one that blurred it most. But we were under no illusions today of the quality that Bohs have,” he explained.
“It’s just disappointing for the supporters that were brilliant all year … but we need them to realise that the standard goes up.
“I’ve been there, John [Caulfield] has been there, a lot of the players have been there and there’s going to be a lot more ups and downs next year.”