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McGee to have bloodied nose assessed after battle of Tralee

Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty says the Tir Chonaill men will be focused on improving their defensive tactics and their discipline ahead of this weekend’s Division One clash with Roscommon
Gerry Maguire

DONEGAL full back Neil McGee looks set to have tests carried on a bloodied nose he received in Sunday’s ‘Blows of Tralee’ match with Kerry as the fall-out from a most ill-tempered affair continued yesterday.

The big Gaoth Dobhair man did not attend a scheduled press conference in Donegal town yesterday, fuelling speculation over his fitness ahead of Sunday’s crunch encounter with Roscommon.

McGee went off with a bloody nose in a highly fractious first half where Alan Fitzgerald was lined after punching McGee in the face as the latter appeared to hold the Kerry man by his hand.

Donegal’s Leo McLoone was also sent off for taking a swipe at Aidan O’Mahoney just before half-time, while two Kerry players, Denis Daly and Shane Enright, were also black-carded.

And referee Eddie Kinsella called both managers, Rory Gallagher and Eamon Fitzmaurice, into the dressing room to talk about the torrid opening half.

Donegal boss Rory Gallagher yesterday declined to comment on the incidents.

His reluctance is somewhat understandable as the CCCC in Croke Park looks certain to examine a number of ugly brawls that marred the encounter.

The match was held up for several incidents in the opening half where the game looked more like sumo wrestling than Gaelic football.

That body could be running the rule over an early incident where Donegal team captain Michael Murphy appeared to be slammed to the ground while being surrounded by several Kerry players early in the first half.

McGee was not the only player to lose blood in Sunday’s battle.

A number of other players were sporting cuts in a match that will unfortunately be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

And both counties could have an anxious few days wait ahead, especially if the CCCC decides to take any action on the number of disgraceful incidents that marred this encounter.

Meanwhile, Donegal corner forward Paddy McBrearty said Donegal could learn a lot from yesterday’s game.

“Discipline would be a big part of it,” he admitted.

“And we can’t be giving frees to players of the calibre of Bryan Sheehan as he will punish you.

When asked about the physical nature of the encounter he said: “Yeah, there is probably a bit of rivalry built up between us going right back to the 
All-Ireland final of 2014.

‘They really needed to win as their backs were against the wall.”

And when asked to comment on the view that Sunday was a dark day for football, the Kilcar star added: “I did not see much of what happened. When you are playing you just concentrate on your own game. 

“It probably was one of the more high profile games and, yes, there was quite a bit of physicality to it as two good teams really went at it.”

But he did not agree that Sunday was a sudden jolt to Donegal in more ways than one.

“No, not really because if you had given us six points in our first three games before the League started we would have taken it gladly,” he said.

“And if we can get over Roscommon this weekend then we would be on eight points and maybe looking towards a NFL semi-final.

“Roscommon are flying and I know the Smiths and Murtaghs from Sigerson football and they are really going well. 

“They have got a few good results, have a new management and are looking to really improve”.

Donegal will be looking to improve also.

“Yes we will be looking at the video of the match this week and we will need to improve on our defending and our discipline,” he said.

And so will Kerry as both counties await deliberations from afar – which could affect their line-outs on Sunday.

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