Cian Bolger should have seen red for tackle on Matthew Shevlin, says Oran Kearney as Coleraine casualty list extends with a trio of injuries
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The 24-year-old was on the receiving end of a robust tackle by Cian Bolger inside the opening minute, and despite his best efforts to run it off, he had to be substituted soon after.
There would be a further blow on 12 minutes as Andy Scott pulled up with a hamstring injury, just seconds before Joe Thomson’s opener.
Coleraine had already come into the contest without the likes of Lyndon Kane, Stephen Lowry, Stephen O’Donnell and Lee Lynch through injury, and had to withdraw Graham Kelly early in the second-half due to precaution.
The game would be settled on 89 minutes as Leroy Millar powered home a header from Levi Ives’ corner-kick.
Speaking after the game, Kearney believes Bolger should have been dismissed for the foul on Shevlin who has only recently returned from a three-match suspension.
“I think it was a red,” he said.
“The referee has missed it and that’s up to him.
“I don’t think it’s malicious from Cian, he’s gone to win the ball and misread it, but the damage he’s caused to Matthew is really bad where he’s going to have to go for a scan on Monday.
“He has a big swell on the knee and a big scrape from the right side of his squad down to his shin.
“His foot was stuck in the ground which made it worse.
“For me it looked like a red card.
“Not only is it the whammy of losing Matthew who’s just back from suspension, but also to come to a venue like this to play 89 minutes 11 against ten would have softened the blow of losing him."
Kearney praised teenager Senan Devine who was introduced from the bench for Scott and battled well on the left-hand side.
“It’s hard to describe but we’ve lost 2-0 and that’s the facts,” he added.
“It’s been a tough night personnel wise where we’ve had to ride a few waves tonight in terms of losing Matthew Shevlin and then making another substitute for Andy Scott within 10 minutes.
“We then had to remove Graham Kelly after 55 minutes and all our substitutions were enforced ones.
“We’ve brought on a 16-year-old to play left-wing back for 80 minutes and he thought he did really well and stuck to his task.
“It’s a tough place to come at the best of times but when you have obstacles like that to try and get through, it makes it even tougher.”