No extra pressure on Irish Cup final officials after ‘impeccable’ referee work

Irish Cup final match officials should only go into Friday’s showpiece bolstered by the ‘impeccable’ performance on Tuesday of referee Shane Andrews and his team.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 12:16 am

Northern Ireland Referees’ Association chairman Paul Larkin has offered total support to Andrews and his assistants in the aftermath of the semi-final penalty shoot-out controversy - highlighting the ‘big calls’ only serve as ‘total justification’ for the appointment decision.

The match officials finished in the semi-final spotlight as Crusaders goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey was dismissed for two bookable offences during the penalty shoot-out success by Larne. Tuffey was adjudged to have come off his line on three occasions during saves.

Crusaders, in the aftermath of the exit, confirmed a move to seek legal advice.

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Referee Shane Andrews issues a red card to Crusaders goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey in Tuesday's Irish Cup semi-final. Pic by Pacemaker.

“I reject any suggestion there is now more pressure on officials for Friday’s final...there should only be a sense of satisfaction within our referee community at officials doing their jobs,” said Larkin. “I can only describe as impeccable the way Shane and his team adhered fully to the laws of the game.

“After such big calls, it has been great to see so many people jump to the match officials’ defence.

“As many have pointed out, it was the correct application of the rules and when I look at the television footage I think it only backs up that view.

“Don’t forget that getting the semi-final appointment would mean so much to the guys and the successful adherence to the laws for such a specific situation should be considered total justification for that call.”

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