Wicklow’s Kehoe Cup final defeat against Meath was over shadowed today after Andy O’Brien was allegedly racially abused on the sideline by Meath players and officials.
O’Brien was sent off in the 16th minute of the contest after an incident with Meath’s Shane Brennan. Brennan went down and received attention and referee Kevin Brady issued O’Brien with a straight red card after consulting his umpires.
Wicklow officials felt that O’Brien’s dismissal was harsh as there was very little in the incident. However, things quickly got out of hand as O’Brien left the field of play.
O’Brien was subjected to a torrent of abuse from the Meath bench as he left the field and it has been claimed that references were made about the Saint Pat’s man being a member of the travelling community.
Very ‘unpleasant’ verbal exchanges continued for the remainder of the first half and it has been claimed that some ‘sickening’ comments were aimed at O’Brien.
The opening 16 minutes of the contest had been decent, despite the game being played with poor visibility, but the incident virtually ended the game as a contest.
Wicklow had been leading by a point up to O’Brien’s dismissal but they lost their concentration after that and eventually lost the game by ten points.
To their credit, Meath knuckled down well to the task and gave a good performance in the second half and they did well to pull away to claim their second Kehoe Cup in difficult conditions.
It is understood that Wicklow will now lodge an official complaint with the G.A.A following the incident.