“How it’s two matches I’ll just never know” – Kenny annoyed by Matt Doherty ban upgrade

“How it’s two matches I’ll just never know” – Kenny annoyed by Matt Doherty ban upgrade

Ireland manager Stephen Kenny is frustrated that Matt Doherty has been banned for two games.

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny today told the media that he is frustrated with UEFA’s decision to upgrade Matt Doherty’s red card against Greece to a two-match ban.

Doherty was sent off in the closing stages of Ireland’s 2-1 defeat in Athens back in June and subsequently missed Ireland’s 3-0 win over Gibralatar at the Aviva Stadium.

The Irish management were relived that the experienced wing-back would only miss the fixture against group minnows Gibraltar, but after a review it was decided that he must also miss September 7ths trip to France.

With captain Seamus Coleman – who was so impressive in the France home fixture – already ruled out through injury, the ban comes with extra stress for Kenny and his coaches who were forced into calling up inexperienced Udinese wing-back Festy Ebosele to deal with their right-side woes.

Left wing-back is also an area of concern with Callum O’Dowda ruled out through injury and Wrexham new boy James McClean not fully fit coming into camp. Doherty performed admirably on the left against France in Dublin but that will now not be an option this time around.

Matt Doherty Stephen Kenny

Kenny frustrated by Matt Doherty ban.

“To be honest,” said Kenny at today’s squad announcement press conference at the Aviva Stadium, “I was constantly onto the operations team over the last while to say you know…I’m sure it’s only one match [at most]…to me it’s a yellow card.

“Looking at the video evidence he’s gone over and nudged him with his shoulder. The player’s hit the deck, he’s absolutely collapsed on the deck and other players have actually grabbed Matt and he could have collapsed on the deck and a Greek player would have been sent off but he didn’t do that.

“There’s no need for the player to hit the deck – number one, and the second thing was that how it’s two matches I’ll just never know.

“I’ve asked the FAI to contact UEFA, delay, delay, delay, there was no meeting. Ultimately we heard a couple of weeks ago that he got two matches, we had a meeting with our legal team, we had a few meetings, a load of video evidence, we viewed it and under the regulations, under the rules, they felt there wasn’t a case for him to appeal because they (UEFA) have clamped down on it.

“The fact the two sets of players were involved after that exacerbates the incident and that’s what led to the two [suspended] matches.”

Fitness and form.

Kenny also confirmed that Troy Parrott misses out on the squad because he is not yet fully fit after undergoing an operation. The Spurs forward – now on loan with Excelsior Rotterdam – was not part of today’s selection of forwards which included a revitalized Aaron Connolly and Brighton sensation Evan Ferguson.

The manager did however cool expectations around Connolly by saying that it is “not realistic” to expect him to start games for Ireland as he is currently operating as an impact sub for Hull City until he reaches full match fitness. The Galwegian has three goals for the Tigers this season including what Kenny described as an “outstanding” brace against Blackburn Rovers.

It was also revealed that there were no fitness concerns behind the decision to omit Norwich defender Andrew Omobamidele. The 20-year-old centre-half was excluded because Shane Duffy starts ahead of him at club level – and with competition fierce in the defensive department – it was the Derryman who got the nod for the upcoming games.