Derry City manager Kenny Shiels couldn’t hide his anger at the match officials after his side bowed out of the FAI Cup at the penultimate stage to reigning champions Dundalk at the Brandywell.
Dundalk’s hopes of a ‘double double’ remain on track after a penalty from Ciaran Kilduff and second half header from Ronan Finn saw the Lilywhites complete a comeback victory after Ronan Curtis had given the home side an early lead.
The decision by match referee David McKeon to award a penalty on 38 minutes after Robbie Benson was adjudged to have been upended by Niclas Vemmelund was a controversial one.
The additional referee behind the goal, Paul Tuite, informed referee McKeon to award the spot-kick despite huge protests from the Derry players.
Kilduff made no mistake from the spot and while Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny was adamant it was the correct decision – “There was no question it was a penalty” – his counterpart was furious with the match officials on the night.
Shiels also voiced his displeasure that Graham Kelly, who took charge of Sunday’s draw, was not retained for the replay.
“I can’t say or I will get myself into trouble,” he told RTÉ Sport when asked about his grievances with the performance of the referee.
“You have seen it yourselves. You have to make your own judgement and hopefully you will report that because you have seen what happened and what went on on the pitch.
“A player being able to get away with incitement...The player [Benson] taking a dive inside the penalty box.
"They brought in extra officials to manage that and monitor it. It’s outside my control. I can’t speak to you with total integrity because if I give you my honest appraisal of the performance then I’m in trouble."
When pressed further on the penalty, at a stage when the home side were 1-0 up, the former Kilmarnock boss insisted that the referee was fooled for the crucial decision.
“Amazing...he’s cut and fell and it’s not a penalty. If I’m wrong I’ll hold my hand up.. .the fourth officials or whatever you call them guys down around the goal mouth he was, I don’t know.”