DISAPPOINTED Westport United’s interim manager Padraig Burns is pictured before the start of extra-time last weekend. Pic: Michael McLaughlin
ANYONE who believes the mantra that soccer ‘is just a game’ needed to be in United Park last Sunday when Westport United bowed out of the FAI Junior Cup.
When the final whistle sounded, the Aisling-Annacotty players and travelling contingent flooded the field and celebrated after they booked a place in the final four of the competition, while those wearing Westport Utd’s colours were left shell-shocked, bemused and visibly frustrated.
A few of them made their feelings known to referee Shane Hayes and his team of officials as they headed for the confines of the dressing-room after the Clare official’s erratic display infuriated certain sections of the home supporters.
Westport United’s interim manager Padraig Burns cut a frustrated figure too after watching his side lose out to an extra-time goal. After reviewing some of the referee’s decisions in question on their official match tape from their telescopic camera on Sunday evening, Burns said he was ‘very disappointed’.
“I’m very disappointed after reviewing our tape of the game with some of the decisions,” he told The Mayo News. “It doesn’t change the fact that we didn’t play well, but in a game of such fine margins I felt a lot of big decisions went against us.
“These had a huge impact on the game and we’re really disappointed that the referee and the officials can get something so wrong.”
The Limerick side were still on the field celebrating their victory when the droves of supporters emptied out of United Park and headed for the warmth of their cars.
On another day, and if the chances fell their way, they could very easily have been the ones on the field celebrating. However, Padraig Burns felt his side just didn’t produce the goods.
“I could talk about that [refereeing] all day long but it’s pointless,” he said.
“We were very disappointed, but I don’t want to get into a slagging match about it because it looks like sore losing.
“The first goal they scored, we talked about defending that yesterday [Saturday]. They scored exactly the same goal against Ballymun, exactly the same free-kick.
“In the second half I thought neither team really created a huge amount of chances. But we certainly didn’t create enough clear-cut chances in the game.
“That was probably our failure on the day.”
All in all, Westport United produced another memorable FAI Junior Cup run against huge adversity in recent weeks.
Life goes on now and their season too, as the impending start of the Mayo Super League looms large on the horizon. Burns was non committal when asked whether or not he would be at the helm in two weeks’ time, but says his side’s next task is to regroup and get ready.
“It’s difficult now because we haven’t had a break for a year,” he said. “We’ve been solid on the road. Now it’s the start of the season again. But that’s football, that’s why we’re in it.”