Ollie Horgan on Tallaght sending-off: 'I have a little bit of Gaeilge but obviously I didn't use the correct Irish'

Fri, Mar 08 2019

Horgan was sent to the stands in Tallaght. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Dave Donnelly reports from Tallaght Stadium

Ollie Horgan was left bewildered when sent to the stands during Monday’s night’s 3-0 defeat to Shamrock Rovers at Tallaght Stadium.

The Finn Harps is no stranger to being banished to the stands, having received his marching orders on more than one occasion last season.

Assistant manager Paul Hegarty was already serving a three-game ban for a recent clash with Dundalk coach Ruaidhri Harkin, leaving William O’Connor as acting manager for the last 20 minutes.

Horgan is the first to admit that he’s cross the line in the past – he joked that some of his comments could have landed him in prison – but this one left him genuinely baffled.

The Galway man was in the middle of making his final substitution of the evening, replacing Harry Ascroft with Colm Deasy – when referee Ben Connolly stepped forward with the bad news.

“I’m not quite sure [if it’s the first time I’ve been sent off for making a sub,” Horgan said after the game.

“I’ve been sent off and, I’ll be honest with you, I should have gotten jail in other years. I’m baffled with this one.”

Horgan was warned by fourth official Tomás Connolly in the first half, and Horgan suggested it may have been his pronunciation of one of the official’s names that was the last straw.

“One of the comments he gave was that I pronounced his name incorrectly, through the wrong language. That’s one of the comments he gave me.

“I’m not quite sure. I did claim for a free kick in the first half and I complained it wasn’t a penalty. I have a little bit of Gaeilge but, obviously, I didn’t use the correct Irish.

“Obviously, if there is a little bit of a name there, maybe it’s an easy option. I’m not quite sure. We’re not allowed speak about officials and I don’t want to speak about them.

“Tonight’s about Aaron Greene, it’s about Greg Bolger, it’s about Aaron McEneff — it’s not about me and it’s certainly not about the officials.”

The fixture was already the source of some dispute, having been brought forward from May by the FAI due to Tallaght’s use for the latter stages of the under-17 European Championships.

Harps had been in contact with the association as soon as the fixtures were announced and suggested alternatives, including reversing fixtures, but their representations fell on deaf ears.

Two trips to Dublin on successive Mondays, with a home fixture against Sligo Rovers in between, was always going to be a tall order for Horgan’s side and they wilted early on.

McEneff wasn’t picked up from a corner and his shot was spilled for Roberto Lopes’ opener, while Gareth Harkin conceded a penalty for a clip on the midfielder as Harps’ mistakes racked up.

Harkin was then forced off in first-half injury with what appears to be a serious injury to his achilles tendon, which could keep him out for a long time.

“I’m not going to tempt fate but Gareth felt a bit of a pop in his achilles tendon and we’re quite concerned that that’s going to be a long-term injury.

“Often injuries, when people are not in the vicinity, they tend to be more serious. Maybe, in hindsight, we should have taken him off, but that’s easier said than done.

“That’s the downside of being a part-time team in a full-time league. But, like, how you couldn’t get us a breather when we all went to work for a full day today, as opposed to [us playing] two Mondays in a row — that’s really my complaint.

“But we made our opinions — and indeed the solutions — quite clear to the powers that be, both in writing and verbally. There might be a problem with understanding my accent. I’m not quite sure.”