Damien Duff: “The finger will probably be pointed at me but it’s usually me isn’t it?”

Shelbourne boss Damien Duff has hit out at the standard of officiating in the League of Ireland following Shels 2-1 defeat against Dundalk at Oriel Park on Monday night. Duff was left seething after substitute Kyle Robinson saw his stoppage time equaliser ruled out for offside while there was also a full-time melee involving both sets of players and members of staff on a dramatic evening on the Carrickmacross Road.

Having taken an early lead through John Ross Wilson, Shelbourne saw their half-time lead evaporate as Dundalk left the traps rapidly at the start of the second half with goals from Rayhaan Tulloch and Andy Boyle. However, the Drumcondra men looked to have grabbed a point in added on time when Robinson rifled his volley from inside the area past Nathan Shepperd only for a swift linesman’s flag to cut Shelbourne celebrations short. When asked about the offside decision and the fact there were five yellow cards handed out during the game, Duff didn’t hold back.

“The goal to finish is onside, it’s on the TV screens already, it’s there for people to see.”

“There is a lot of yellows, every time there’s a yellow you’ve got to pay the FAI twenty-five or fifty-euro, I don’t know, listen, it’s easy money isn’t it?”

“But forget about the yellows for now, when there’s goals that are blatantly onside and they’re given offside it’s mind boggling, it breaks your heart but like I said, that’s the standards you’re dealing with here.”

As for the unsavory post-match scenes, no red cards were reported to have been handed out by referee Damien Macgrath with Damien Duff unsure what initially sparked the trouble while the Reds boss admitted he was unsure whether or not further ramifications may follow.

“The finger will probably be pointed at me but it’s usually me isn’t it?”

“I don’t know, I was over shaking hands with the ref and it kicked off behind me.”

“I just spoke to the referee after the disallowed goal but he obviously didn’t want to talk to me so I don’t know, we’ll see, I was over talking to the ref.”

It wasn’t only the officials where Duff’s frustrations lay after Monday’s defeat as Shelbourne were left to rue yet more missed opportunities in the final third this season. The Dubliners have only scored two goals in their opening four matches with Duff admitting it was a case of the “same old story” against Dundalk.

“Same story different day, we’ve had chances, we haven’t taken them, we’ve let them back into the game with soft goals but aside from that I don’t think they really created much all night.”

“I thought defensively we looked really good so as much as Stevie (O’Donnell) and Dundalk and the fans will be happy going home, we’ve handed them the game.”

“The hardest thing to do in football is to put it in the net but it’s also to create chances and we’re doing it, the pleasing part is we’re creating them but we aren’t putting them away.”

The absence of last season’s top goalscorer Sean Boyd certainly isn’t helping matters in that regard and with Boyd set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines it will be up to others to step up to the goalscoring plate. Despite missing a number of key players through injury at the moment, Duff feels he still has more than enough quality in his ranks to choose from.

“Sean will need an operation, he’s a big presence and a big personality and we’ll miss him but we’ve got more than enough quality in the attacking areas, you’ve seen tonight the local boy Kian Leavy the quality he can bring us, everyone knows Jack (Moylan) in the league, Kyle Robinson can play there, we’ve got options.”

Duff will now have to pick his troops up for the visit of champions Shamrock Rovers on Friday with the Hoops still searching for their first win of the season. Duff, who ended his playing career in Tallaght, described his mood going into the game at Tolka Park.

“Great, positive, full of optimism after our start to the season and our performance this evening, even the melee at the end I think it shows we’re more together than ever.”


To hear the full interview with Damien Duff, tune in to S7EP4 of Between the Stripes LOI podcast.

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