Bannsiders left upset at referee’s offisde decision

Ryan Harpur impedes Coleraine goalkeeper Eugene Ferry in the build up to Dungannon's third goal, but not according to referee Arnold Hunter.
Ryan Harpur impedes Coleraine goalkeeper Eugene Ferry in the build up to Dungannon's third goal, but not according to referee Arnold Hunter.
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The new offside rule has caused many debates in recent years with people questioning what excatly differentiates an active and inactive player.

Just this season in the English Premier League Newcastle United had what seemed a perfectly legitimate goal chalked off against Manchester City as a player was deemed to be active and interfering with the goalkeeper’s eyeline.

Eoin Bradley cuts a frustrated figure.

Eoin Bradley cuts a frustrated figure.

At Coleraine Showgrounds on Saturday though a more blatant offence was given the okay by referee Arnold Hunter.

With the sixth round Irish Cup tie finely balanced at 2-1 to the visitors Dungannon Swifts and with 15 minutes to go Johnny Topley swung a hopeful cross in towards the Coleraine goal.

The ball somehow ended up in the back of the net, but on closer inspection Ryan Harpur not only impeded home keeper Eugene Ferry, but he was also in an offside position.

The assistant on the far side raised his flag and the Coleraine players brought it to the attention of referee Arnold Hunter, but remarkably he deemed Harpur not to be interfering with play and the goal was given.

Coleraine staged a late fight back which saw Eoin Bradley make it 3-2 in the 90th minute, but Topley’s controversial proved vital.

“Having watched it back on the television I would be confident to say it’s a foul and a free kick out,” Kearney told Times Sport after the game.

“There’s a lot of grey areas now with this new ruling about whether a player is active or inactive and we nearly had a goal at the other end with a player deemed to be inactive.

“Ryan Harpur is in an offside position but he also makes big contact with our keeper when the ball is put in. So whether he is offside or not it shoul be a free kick out.

“That’s my biggest grievance, he has impinged on the goalkeeper’s ability to jump, which is a foul.

“But take that decision out of it we’ve only ourselves to blame as we have created enough chances to win two or three games today.

“If you don’t take your chances you leave yourself open to be hit on the counterattack.

“It’s a tough one for us to take. For big parts of the game we’ve done really well and created a lot of chances, but unless you put the ball in the net then you’re going to find it hard. “

Kearney was disappointed his side took their eye off the ball for a crucial 20 minute period in the second half which allowed the Swifts to get on top.

“We have talked about it a lot that you don’t need to score in the first minute and that the game last for 90 minutes,” he said.

“It’s important that if you don’t score when you are on top that you don’t let your head drop.

“I thought we responded very well after Dungannon scored their first. But the biggest disappointment for me was the way we played in the final six minutes of the game was how we should have played for the final half hour of the game.

“It took the jolt of the third goal to spring us into life, but it was 2-1 for a long period of time.

“It comes down to mentality you have to question why we didn’t push on to get back in the game sooner. You have to go into these sort of games believing that you can get into the next round and belive you can get to the final and win it.

“If you don’t believe it it will never happen.”