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McGrane critical of refs after loss to former team

blog by The Canisius Griffin  • 

As the head coach of the Niagara men’s soccer team for nine years, Dermot McGrane is all too familiar with the home turf of the Purple Eagles. However, last Friday’s game was a different experience.

He was focused on the “Away” side of the scoreboard as he took the field not as the head coach of Niagara, but as the head coach of the Canisius College Golden Griffins.

McGrane, who left the Purple Eagles for the Griffs last January, explains that he thought coaching at his former home field would have been a lot “weirder” for him than it actually was.

“Obviously, the majority of players that played in that game were recruited by me or played for me at Niagara, but they have a new coach now,” McGrane said. “My team is Canisius.”

Canisius played well in the highly anticipated matchup of the two rivals but were unable to pull through with a win. The Griffs ended their MAAC regular season by falling to Niagara 2-0, to make them 4-12-1 on the season and 2-6-1 in conference play. The loss was an especially frustrating one for McGrane, as he attributes part of the loss to calls by the referee.

The first Niagara goal came in the first half of the game, when senior Carl Haworth was awarded a penalty kick after being fouled in the box. The tally came in the 37th minute of play.   

“Normally I would never comment about a referee, but it’s the second time this guy has done this to us this year. I felt that there were two other times where we had players fouled in the box that could have been penalties and he didn’t call them,” McGrane said.

The coach is referring to an incident during the game that occurred no more than minute after the first goal, when Canisius forward Gavin Falconer was fouled “the exact same way” in Niagara’s box. To both the crowd and the team’s surprise, no call was made by the referee and a penalty kick was not awarded to Canisius.

In the 53rd minute, Niagara scored on a direct kick following a foul call right outside the box. Haworth, who has spent time with the Canadian national team, netted his second of the game and 12th tally of the season on a goal that again resulted from a referee’s call.

Overall, McGrane felt that the officiating by the referee was “a little inconsistent” and “biased towards one team over another,” which ultimately led to the loss.

The scoresheet for the game lists Stephen Montanino as the referee and Kevin Barci and Anthony Perdue as assistants.

Putting this frustrating game behind them, the Griffs travel to Disney World in Orlando, Fla. this week for the MAAC Championship tournament. This year’s tournament is set up differently than a regular year, with all 10 teams making the trip down south. The Griffs have the eighth seed and Coach McGrane is “feeling good” about their draw. The team will face Rider in the first game, with hopes of advancing on to the next round and eventually through to the final.

McGrane has told his players to treat the tournament like a “brand new season” and explains that, “on any given day, any team could beat another.” He says that the team’s main goal is to win all four games and make the NCAA tournament. It’s clear that this coach believes wholeheartedly that despite their final record of 4-13-1, the Griffs have the potential to advance.   

“We have the potential. There’s no team that scares me,” says McGrane. “If we play well, we could beat any team.”

By Hayden Ristevski
The Griffin

TAGGED: canisius griffins, canisius soccer, dermot mcgrane, niagara university, referees

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