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Injury in defeat to Dublin proved costly for Tyrone's Tiernan McCann

(left to right) Mayo football captain, Cillian O’Connor; Tiernan McCann of Tyrone; Wexford hurler Lee Chin and Cork hurler Patrick Horgan were in Dublin yesterday as eir sport announced details of its live coverage of the forthcoming Allianz Leagues which will see 17 games broadcast across seven weekends Picture: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy
From Paul Keane in Dublin

TIERNAN McCann has revealed the full extent of the hand injury he suffered during Tyrone’s All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin, revealing it put him out of work for six weeks and cost him financially.

McCann was in Dublin yesterday for the launch of eir sport’s coverage of the Allianz Leagues and sported a significant scar on the back of his hand.

It’s the result of an operation he underwent days after the loss to Dublin last August to correct a broken metacarpal bone which involved inserting three metal screws.

McCann, a self-employed locum pharmacist based in Dublin, was out of work for a lengthy spell and said he was fortunate he’d saved enough money to get by.

Asked if he was covered by insurance, McCann said he is ‘still in the process of getting through that unfortunately’ and agreed that it can be a painful process.

“You are right,” responded McCann. “It is very regimented and paperwork-based. Hopefully it will be sorted soon but unfortunately it has not been sorted yet.

“Thankfully I had been working quite a bit over the summer so I had saved up but I didn’t get any other assistance unfortunately. It is one of those things where my (working) role is different to a lot of people.

“I am self-employed and I work per day and it is a bit more tricky than being in a full-time job.”

The Killyclogher man said he is ‘not sure’ that the present mechanism for compensating GAA players for injuries and expenses is good enough and declined to put a figure on exactly how much he’s out of pocket.

“I would not even want to think how much it is,” said the Allstar nominee.

“I was despondent enough after the Dublin game. Breaking my hand was another blow and then there was the financial blow so I am just getting back fit again and looking forward to the year ahead. I am back working.”

McCann doesn’t know how the injury occurred, even after reviewing footage of the game.

“I looked back at it a few times and I can’t actually pin-point when it happened, but it definitely happened about 10 or 15 minutes in,” he said.

“I looked at my knuckle and it was really sunken and I just knew something was wrong at half-time, the doctor told me it was broken. I was going, ‘Right, I am going to play away here, I am not coming off’. Maybe I should have been taken off.”

McCann was satisfied with his form over the year despite how the Championship ended, adding a vital attacking dimension to his play and perhaps answering some of those who’d questioned his footballing ability.

“Something that people maybe say is that the difference between me and my brother is he’s a really good footballer but ‘Tiernan’s an athlete’,” he said.

“I like to show people that I’m a footballer too, a footballer first and foremost, the athleticism comes after that.”

McCann was heavily criticised in 2015 for dropping dramatically to the ground after his hair was lightly touched by Monaghan’s Darren Hughes in their All-Ireland quarter-final tie, resulting in Hughes’ dismissal.

McCann received a retrospective eight-week ban for the action and, though he successfully appealed that, he has now admitted he is ‘sorry’ for what he did.

“I’d like to think that I’ve gone on since then and shown people that I was sorry for it and that I’ve learnt from it and that I’ve tried to play my best football and tried to be as honest as I can since then,” he said.

McCann reckons pundits who slammed him at the time, and who have been heavily critical of other players since, should choose their words carefully.

“At the end of the day, we’re amateur players,” he said.

“We’re not Luis Suarez or some of these fellas getting 200 grand a week. It’s not our professional job – but it can impact on our personal lives.

“That’s their job as pundits, they have to go out and analyse games and call it as they see it. They’re being asked most of the time straight after the event whereas maybe if they had a chance to sit and reflect on it, they wouldn’t be as personal.”

McCann also suggested that Tyrone will tweak their tactics this year after coming up well short of Dublin in that semi-final.

“It’s the definition of insanity; to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result, so obviously there has to be some sort of a tweak with the way we play and that’s what we’re trying to do,” he added.

“We have a couple of different ways of playing, all teams have different ways of playing. We hope to bring about some difference to what we did previously, yeah.”

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