RTE’s League of Ireland pundits and ex-players Richie Sadlier and Tony McDonnell are among those who think the occasion of Sunday’s FAI Cup semi-final was too much for referee Anthony Buttimer.
However, ex-Millwall man Sadlier felt Buttimer was justified in issuing the red card to Darren Meenan, saying: “It’s a dangerous tackle and I wouldn’t be too critical of the referee in that decision at all.”
Surprisingly, McDonnell, a former UCD stalwart, concurred.
“Once you leave the ground its dangerous play although I would have preferred to see 11 against 11.”
While they may have disagreed with the general public regarding the Meenan decision, there could be no questioning the wrong call made in issuing Chris Shields a red card and awarding the spot kick.
McDonnell believes that a highly-charged semi-final derby atmosphere was perhaps too much for Buttimer to handle on the day: “With the second red card, Shields gets a touch on the ball and even if he hadn’t, [Declan] O’Brien still has to beat Andy Boyle so it is a terrible decision.
“You wonder what’s going through his mind, is he influenced by the occasion or the reaction of the players? It is a crazy decision and I don’t see how he can give that as a red card.”
Sadlier also agreed that there was no call for handing Shields the red which essentially killed the game as a contest.
He continued: “There is no argument whatsoever that it shouldn’t have been a red card. It is an absolutely daft decision for the ref to make!”