(Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick)
Bray Wanderers’ defeat of St Patrick’s Athletic on Friday night was marred by ugly scenes that saw three players sent off. Jason Byrne for Bray, and Darren Meenan and captain Kenny Browne for the Saints, were all dismissed by referee Padraig Sutton in a game that will be remembered for the wrong reasons.
Byrne was the first to go when he and Pat’s winger Sean O’Connor squared up during a stoppage in play after Bray’s Shane O’Connor went down with cramp, but Pat’s had refused to put the ball out of play.
After the two came together, Sean O’Connor fell to the ground clutching his face. Referee Sutton consulted with his linesmen before giving the former Dundalk, Bohemians and Shelbourne striker his marching orders.
Incensed at what he believed was a dive by the Pat’s winger, Byrne charged at O’Connor swinging wildly. An on-field melee quickly ensued with players and management from both sides going toe-to-toe.
Darren Meenan was subsequently red carded for his part in the shemozzle.
Speaking to Extratime.ie after the game, Bray boss Pat Devlin slammed Sean O’Connor for going down the way he did.
“It was unbelievable what he (Sean O’Connor) did. The player dived onto the ground, rolled around the place and conned the referee. I saw it straight in front of me, and there was nothing in it. It was pure gamesmanship”, he said.
He went on to describe the melee after Byrne’s sending off as “completely unacceptable” but stated the whole affair stemmed from Pat’s refusing to put the ball out of play when Shane O’Connor went down injured. The full-back had to be stretchered off and was replaced by Daire Doyle on 68 minutes.
A clearly infuriated Devlin blamed St Pat’s refusal to put the ball out of play as the cause of the ugly scenes.
“I just shook hands with Liam (Buckley) after it but I’m not happy about it at all. They should have put the ball out. We did it twice in the first half when their players went down. Shane (O’Connor) had to go off so it’s clear he was injured.”
Pat’s boss Liam Buckley, who had watched the incidents after the game on camera before speaking to the media, said it was inconclusive whether or not Sean O’Connor had dived and added that Darren Meenan hadn’t appeared to do anything that could warrant a red card.
“I’m not sure what’s happened there. They definitely came together. It’s fairly inconclusive from the camera. I can’t see Darren Meenan doing anything either.”
“In hindsight I would have preferred my players to knock the ball out and just get on with it. But that said, he’s gone down with cramp. If it was anything serious the ref would have stopped it. But ultimately, we would have preferred to knock it out and start it again as they did on a couple of occasions.”
“That’s the proper way to do it”, he acknowledged.
Kenny Browne was sent off ten minutes before the end for a second bookable offence when he lunged at goal scorer Waters.
Sam joined Extratime for the 2011 season and is now the site's features editor. He is based in Dublin and covers all the clubs in the capital. He is also prone to the odd Drogheda game. If you would like to contact Sam, you can reach him at email@example.com.