Frustration was etched all over Dundalk first-team coach Vinny Perth’s face as he spoke to the media following Friday night’s 2-0 defeat in Inchicore.
Perth held his hands up and admitted that his side had failed to show up in terms of their performance but he also felt that some of referee Tom Connolly’s key decisions went against Dundalk.
“I thought there were a couple of questionable things tonight. It was the Tom Connolly show as it normally is. But, there you go, these things happen”, he said.
When asked what specifically had annoyed him, the former Malahide United boss pointed to the free-kick which resulted in Pats’ first goal where TV replays clearly showed Anto Flood hitting the deck all too easily under pressure from Andy Boyle.
“The first goal came from a free-kick where the player threw himself over. It wasn’t a free-kick”, said Perth.
Flood also went down theatrically in the 17th minute, leading to a yellow card for Dane Massey. And Perth was left furious that a crude challenge from Killian Brennan on Kurtis Byrne in the 31st minute went unpunished, especially when compared against the incident that saw Dundalk skipper Stephen O’Donnell sent off with 15 minutes to go.
“Killian Brennan made a ridiculous two footed lunge and didn’t even get booked for it and Dane Massey got booked for nothing.
“The sending-off of Stephen O’Donnell was ridiculous”, he added.
“When you see the sending-off, the (St Pat’s) player has walked towards him and it was a push away. It wasn’t a push that would break your neck.
“If you’re going to get sent off for that, what’s the point? It’s a contact sport. When you think of what Killian Brennan did and what Stephen O’Donnell did…”
Perth offered no excuses for Dundalk’s performance, saying that the lack of fluency in their game was ultimately what cost them.
“It wasn’t the referee’s fault that we lost the game, we lost it because we didn’t get into the flow of the game. We didn’t create as many chances as we normally do. We didn’t get our passing game going at all for whatever reason.”
Dundalk’s last defeat came against Limerick in June. After that, they put together an eight match winning run which propelled them back into the title race.
And Perth is backing the Lilywhites to do the same following the Richmond Park setback.
“The run comes to an end but the one thing we have always done is bounce back when we have suffered a setback.
“All we can do now is affect ourselves and win our games. Maybe Pat’s will celebrate tonight as if they’ve won the league but we’ve been a credit to ourselves all year and we’re not going to give up now.”