Richie Sadlier said he "feared" for how Lauren James would be treated had England been eliminated from the World Cup by Nigeria on Monday.
Late in the second half of what was a scoreless last-16 game, James - England's star of the tournament thus far - was
The game went to extra-time and a penalty shootout which England won 4-2. They will face either Jamaica or Colombia in the World Cup quarter-finals.
"I think she'll be the most relieved player in that whole camp that they went through," Sadlier said during RTÉ's coverage of Monday's games.
"We know what she's done in the previous games. We know what her ability is, all the attention and the hype that she got, and then she does this at this stage.
"She thought she might have gotten away with it, a yellow card, but you can clearly see that she stamps on the player. It's unnecessary, there's no advantage.
"I just feared for her the longer this game went on. Had England lost this game... A lot of people in England and in football have been crying out that women get the same treatment as the men get. If she was going to get the same treatment as the men... I'm thinking of Rooney and Beckham, England internationals who've been sent off for petulance in a game where England go out of a World Cup, they got vilified, absolutely torn to shreds in the media. I hoped England would go through to avoid any scenario like that for her.
"She'll be disappointed. She's young. I'm sure she'll learn from it. She's a senior group around her who can support her. That's unacceptable if you're in a team at that level trying to achieve what they are. She has a lot of making up to do to those teammates."
James will serve at least a one-match ban.
"I think that's the last we'll see of her in this tournament," said Ireland legend Emma Byrne.
"The whole World Cup has been an absolute crazy ride. This is just adding to it. Everybody was talking about Lauren James, I was talking about Lauren James.
"What an incredible player, and I could not wait to see her play in the next round, the next round against the big teams and now we're probably not going to see that because of inexperience, because of a silly mistake.
"Yes, she is young but she is an experienced player. She plays in the top flight in England. She plays with Emma Hayes who is constantly trying to show her the right way and keep her feet on the ground. This is just another lesson for her."
🟥 RED CARD - VAR works against England again, but there can be no complaints from Lauren James after a petulant stamp
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