Tyrone, Tyrone - you're on your own

Tyrone boss Mickey Harte knows his side will have to silence the critics against Ulster champions Donegal on Sunday

I’ll tell you what I want to know. When did the horrible term `sledging’ suddenly become the catch all phrase for what used to be called slabbering or mouthing? I don’t know what I despise more, the word ‘sledging’ or the actual behaviour.

Anyway, you’ll not be surprised to discover that after the events in Ballybofey, the issue of players slabbering at each other is at the top of today’s agenda.

But before we career into a festival of savage whataboutery, we’ll start with a contribution that certainly brought a smile to my face.

‘Lurgan Orangewoman’ hadn’t a negative thing to say about the game in Ballybofey. In fact, she is practically licking her lips at the prospect of a similar confrontation between her native county and Donegal.

She said: “I have seen many rough and tough game between ourselves and Tyrone and Donegal. After watching The Sunday Game, I am glad that I tuned into BBC 2 at four o’clock.

“Des Cahill with his panel made up of a Dub, a Kerryman and Gentleman Coulter. All three had their haloes shining brightly as they tut-tutted about the antics in Ballybofey. Bring on June the 14th for more of the same,” she said.

While `Lurgan Orangewoman’ could accept the misdemeanours which occurred on Sunday, the majority of contributers didn’t share her laissez-faire attitude.

Sean Cavanagh’s comments about the slabbering which took place sparked a fusillade of replies.

‘Down and Ulster Gael’ took considerable umbrage at the Tyrone captain’s remarks.

He wrote: “So Sean Cavanagh isn't too happy with sledging in the game. Boy did I nearly choke on my brekkie when I read this revelation from the serial diver himself.

“I didn't see Sean chastise his team-mate Justin McMahon who was in Michael Murphy’s face the entire match. I'm sorry Sean, but this is the best example of the pot calling the kettle black I've heard in a long, long time. I have absolutely no time for this verbal baiting, pushing and shoving, intimidating refs and yes Sean, tearing an opponent’s jerseys off!

Sean was critical of the ref for not clamping down on the cynical behaviour which was on show. Can he not remember a couple of seasons back when he rugby tackled the Monaghan forward as he was about to win the game? I’d like to remind Sean that it was Tyrone who brought cynicism to an altogether higher level and it is a significant blight on our game today.

[RIB] It would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black if Sean Cavanagh had a reputation for slabbering, which he does not.

Also, in the 2013 All-Ireland quarter-final Conor McManus wasn’t about to win the game. Cavanagh’s foul was committed in the 49th minute.

‘Mayobridge Lady’ didn’t have an issue with Sean Cavanagh. But she took grave exception to a Tyrone footballer complaining about cynicism.

She said: “Sean Cavanagh is talking about sledging. How disgraceful is it for a club player from Tyrone to grab a player’s gum shield and rub it down the centre of his shorts (easy now). I saw this happening in the Ulster Club Championship. How disgusting is that? (I’ve seen worse)

“That player had to put his gum shield back in his mouth after the player had rubbed it against his crotch (steady now) and a very sweaty crotch it was at that (woah, that’s enough). Disgusting. Revolting. Sean Cavanagh needs to look at what is happening in club football in Tyrone. People in glasshouses should not throw stones”

[RIB] The player in question obviously placed a high value on his teeth.

‘Orchard Gael’ watched the game and reached the conclusion that it’s all Tyrone’s fault. Not just for the scenes in Ballybofey but for all the unsavoury scenes that have ever been witnessed at an inter-county game.

He said: “I was at the match on Sunday between Donegal and Tyrone. Anytime that I have gone to a match in Ulster or in the south, there was never any pushing or shoving. The only time I ever see it is when Tyrone are playing. I think it’s time Mickey Harte pulled some of his players aside and taught them a bit of manners. You wouldn’t see it in any other game in Ireland. No team is at it other than Tyrone.”

[RIB] Blind and bitter? Or blinded by bitterness. I’m not sure. Either way, you are completely blind.

At least Orchard Gael was honest and revealed that he was from Armagh. Our next contributor started his email by claiming: “I attended Sunday’s game as a neutral and was largely indifferent as to who won the game.”

The tenor of his email suggested otherwise. Let’s just hope he will be equally indifferent when he learns that none of his comments were printed.

‘Old-Timer from Down,’ is a fairly regular contributor. A bona-fide Mourne man, he has a soft spot for Mickey Harte and Tyrone. He is convinced that there is an agenda against the Red Hands.

“Tyrone will maybe win the Sam Maguire Cup in about another 20 years’ time. Not only is the southern media against Tyrone, and RTE’s so called analysts, the GAA’s officialdom is also against them.

“Referees have been the extra player for the opposition in quite a few of the recent Championship games which Tyrone have lost. Mickey Harte will never beat the system. It’s not just bad luck. I say to the other six county teams, if you are trying to be successful then take heed. You will be next. Northern teams have no chance.”

‘Sad To See The Demise of Football’ was outraged at the methods used by Justin McMahon to curb the influence of Michael Murphy.

He said: “I have been attending football matches since 1948, and have now been relegated to watching from my armchair.

“I did not expect to witness a proper game of Gaelic football, given the type of defensive nonsense that these two teams serve up. It is sacrilege to call it Gaelic football.

“However, what was served up on TV to be seen around the globe was nothing short of scandalous. The football in the first 12 minutes was of a very high standard, but it was all played by Donegal. Tyrone were not in the game at all. Then came Tyrone’s plan B. They started intimidating their opponents in whatever way humanly possible. It was very clear from the start that the Tyrone management decided to not let Michael Murphy play. But how dare the manager of any team deprive me or all the other loyal supporters of proper Gaelic football the right to witness one of the best forwards in the game in Ireland at the present time show his class.

What were the linesmen and umpires doing? Tyrone and their officials have dragged Tyrone football to an all time low. Sean Cavanagh’s comments about on-field abuse are laughable. Two of his former team-mates were experts at giving abuse. And what about his clubmate’s treatment of the innocent Diarmuid Marsden in an All - Ireland final when he was wrongly sent off for the first time in his illustrious career.

[RIB] I thought Tyrone’s `Plan B’ started when Darren McCurry scored a brilliant goal. While appalled at the fact that you never got to see the talented Michael Murphy show his class, you never got to see five-time Allstar Sean Cavanagh displaying his skills either. Is it only a scandal when the dark arts are employed against Michael Murphy? Is Michael Murphy the only player who is subjected to this type of treatment?

Finally, our last contributor made an imminently sensible suggestion which will no doubt be totally ignored by the powers-that-be in Croke Park.

He said: “For these county matches, the GAA needs county referees to do the job of the umpires.”

[RIB] It’s an obvious solution. However, the linesmen are county referees and more often than not, they are as useless as the umpires


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