GAA Football

Crossmaglen Rangers 'bite' incident should have stayed private - McCann

Cargin's Michael McCann in action against Crossmaglen in last Sunday's Ulster Club SFC tie.
Picture by Philip Walsh   
Andy Watters

CARGIN midfielder Michael McCann would have preferred to keep the alleged biting incident during last Sunday’s match against Crossmaglen private.

The Antrim star walked off the pitch in silence after Crossmaglen pulled away late on to win by eight points, but Erin’s Own manager John Brennan reported the incident, which Crossmaglen deny took place, to the media in the aftermath of the Ulster Senior Club Championship quarter-final.

Brennan claimed his player had been bitten by a Crossmaglen defender during the second-half of the Athletic Grounds showdown. McCann subsequently confirmed what his manager said and says he informed referee Joe McQuillan during the game. Since then, he has reluctantly become embroiled in a media storm not of his making.

“Our manager reported it,” he said.

“It wasn’t me who actually reported it and, on the back of that, I was asked about it and I confirmed that it did happen. I reported it to the referee during the match and we’ll see what comes of that. There’s nothing more I can do than that and, whatever happens now, it’s not going to help me in any way. We’re out, we’re beat and that’s it.”

While he didn’t name the player involved, McCann added: “He maybe lost the head, I’ve done plenty of stupid things in my time, albeit I’ve never done that.”

McCann alleges that a Crossmaglen player walked up behind him and bit him on the shoulder during the game. He felt the bite and turned around to confront his assailant. An altercation took place, with players from both sides getting involved and James Morgan and Gerard McCann were booked.

The next stage is for the Ulster Council to act on referee McQuillan’s match report and take whatever action they deem appropriate. Ulster Council president Martin McAvinney warned that any “malice” during the quarter-final clash will be dealt with swiftly, if proven, and added that he’d be “disappointed if it did happen”.

“We’ll deal with the referees’ report when we get it,” said the Monaghan official.

“As soon as we get it, if there’s any malice to be dealt with, we’ll deal with it straight away. If it hasn’t happened, there’s nothing to be done. If it has, it’s up to us to deal with it."

“I’d be disappointed if it did happen,” he added.

“We talked beforehand about having a good championship and good discipline.”

Meanwhile, John McEntee denied the incident had taken place.

“It sounds ridiculous to me," he said.

“I would have thought that John would have been magnanimous in defeat and just take it on the chin. There were a lot of incidents we could all talk about.”

And Oisín McConville, the other half of the Crossmaglen management duo, said he was satisfied that no biting had taken place.

“All we can really do is ask,” he told RTÉ radio on Monday.

“These sort of incidents are very hard to prove and are very hard to see. We’re happy that such an incident did not happen. We wouldn’t condone anything like that. It’s not the way we play football. We haven’t been associated with this stuff before.

“It wouldn’t be something, as a management team, we’d be condoning and, as a club, it’s not something we would want happening.”

Referee McQuillan’s report is expected to be with the Ulster Council later this week.

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