Damien Duff says he is unable to give his true feelings on the refereeing in last night’s defeat to Dundalk because he is of the opinion that managers in the League of Ireland are ‘muzzled.’
uff was awarded the first senior red card of his career after protesting to match official Paul McLaughlin about the dismissal of defender Shane Griffin in a 2-1 defeat.
The former Ireland international received a yellow card for initial comments and then quickly received a second one for his response to that booking.
In the aftermath of a game where Dundalk also had a player sent off and Shels were awarded a questionable penalty after a clearer shout was waved away, the 43-year-old chose his words carefully when asked why he was sent to the stands.
He referenced a recent incident in Derry where backroom staff member Alan Quinn was sent off at the interval.
“Listen, I’ll soon find out. I’m sure there will be emails back and forth. I did this, I did that,” said Duff. “I’ve had that with Alan Quinn after the Derry game. You are pushed to the limit. I always heard that, reading the media, you are pushed to the limit but you are not allowed speak. You are muzzled somewhat.
“I just walked. Get on with the game, get on with life. It is what it is. I’ve got the best assistant manager in the league. Joey (O’Brien) can take the reins, no problem.”
When pressed for further comment on contentious decisions, Duff couched his response with the word ‘if’ used for extra emphasis.
“Even if I thought it was the worst…if I thought it was the worst refereeing performance I’ve ever seen, I couldn’t comment on it. So I’ll just pass on what I thought of them.
“At the end of the day it costs you points. Does he give the second peno because he doesn’t give the first? I don’t know. Is it human instinct – ‘Oh, I’ll make up for my first one’? Jack Moylan’s one (an appeal which was waved away) is a definite peno. You give yellows early on for nothing, i.e. Griff, then you send him off for nothing; that’s my frustration.”
Duff said he would give his players the weekend off after their first away defeat of the weekend.
He was happy with the player’s overall application as they responded to Monday’s drubbing at the hands of Bohemians.
They were undone by a pair of crosses into the box, with Dundalk’s John Martin heading home the winner with his first touch just as it looked as though Shane Farrell’s penalty had earned the Reds a point.
“It was an amazing defensive shift outside of the two crosses for the two goals,” said Duff.
“I thought if anyone was going to win the game at 1-1, it would be us. I thought at 0-0 coming back out at half-time, it would be us because we were so compact, we frustrated them. We started the second-half more dangerous.
“I’ll give them the weekend off. It was always scheduled anyway, because we had them in every Sunday. That’s probably hard on family life. They’ll just have to reboot again on Monday. But it’s amazing from them. I can’t really fault them.”
Duff will be confined to the stands for next week’s trip to face Finn Harps at Ballybofey, a game he has described as a six pointer.
Shels lost 3-0 to Harps at Tolka Park, the lowest point of a grim sequence of home results with one point taken from six games at Tolka.
“A lot of people are probably reading into it saying ‘What’s Duffer doing at home, what’s he saying?'” he continued.
“Nothing. Our shape hasn’t changed. Whether it’s lads saying they need to go and impress the fans or if it’s the emotion of it, I don’t know, we obviously need to address that but first and foremost we need to go to Finn Harps next week
“At the end of the day, we’ve come up from the First Division on one of the lowest budgets in the league so there’s going to be ups and downs, and bumps in the road this year. We’ll just get over them and move on, it’s fine.”