McIver steps down as Derry manager; slams ‘brutal’ refereeing by Cork’s Lane

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By Cóilín Duffy

Brian McIver has stepped down as manager of the Derry Senior Football team, after the Oak Leafers six-point loss to Galway in the All-Ireland SFC Round 3 qualifiers at Pearse Stadium this evening.

Brain McIver at this evening’s match. Picture: Sportsfile

McIver’s involvement saw a resurgence in Derry football, which included qualification for the Allianz League Division 1 final last year, but his side were disappointing this evening, as they made their exit in front of 4,600 spectators.

McIver was scathing in his criticism of Cork referee Conor Lane.

His criticism hinged on two key decisions – with Brendan Rogers’ receiving a black card in the first half, and the decision not to award a penalty after an apparent foul on Cailean O’Boyle in the second half.

“You come down here, you plan and put in the effort and you get a referee like that,” he said.

“All you have to do and look at the pattern of frees – a six-point turnaround. A penalty could have seen us bring the game down to a point, instead the play went up the other end and they got a goal.

“Having said that, we accept (a level of) responsibility ourselves. You can’t always in a match blame the referee. We kicked some chances wide in the second half.

“At the end of the day, games should be decided by players and not by referees.”

The Derry boss said this evening’s match was the tipping point, after his experiences of poor performances by officials over the years.

“I’ve had to step down. Everything in the GAA has moved on in the last 20 years, except for the standard of refereeing,” he said.

“Maybe I’ll be seen as totally biased, but I thought it was one of the worst refereeing displays I have seen in my life.

“The black card was absolutely another crazy decision. These guys are accountable to nobody, yet everything in the GAA is designed to improve things. The standard of refereeing is just getting worse over the years.”

McIver was keen to stress that he was proud of all his players, and wished them the best for the future.

“The players have given everything and I’m very pleased with all they have done in the last three years.

“And the same for the county board and the rest of the management. Everybody has been great, and I really wish the Derry lads the best of luck.

“They work as hard as anyone else in the rest of the country, but when you come to a ground like this and get turned over like that – it’s absolutely brutal.”