GAA Football

Derry boss Damian Barton tight-lipped on Mattie Donnelly-Chrissy McKaigue flashpoint

Neil Loughran

DERRY boss Damian Barton was far from impressed with the performance of the match officials at Celtic Park yesterday – but remained tight-lipped about an incident involving Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly and Chrissy McKaigue.

The Red Hands had 11 points to spare by the close of yesterday’s Ulster SFC quarter-final after finishing strongly.

Yet much of the post-match talk was about a coming together between Donnelly and McKaigue 10 minutes after the break, the Trillick midfielder appearing to strike out at McKaigue.

However, after consulting with his sideline official, referee Maurice Deegan decided to take no action.

When asked about the incident, Barton insisted he didn’t “want to see anyone suspended” but expressed frustration with the officials operating at Celtic Park yesterday.

“People are very good at looking in hindsight at things like TV replays in the past and even when there is no evidence people tend to get suspended anyway,” said the Derry boss of the Donnelly-McKaigue coming together.

“I don’t want to see anyone suspended. I thought the officials today… there is a bit of a laissez faire attitude with a lot of officials. Sometimes the game can be seen as something of a pantomime as much as anything else - you cannot even ask an official a question.

“I mean what kind of sport are we playing that we cannot even query an official about a decision in a mannerly way? Not in an ignorant way because, as a coach, I want to be able to tell the players how to fix it, but these people just dismiss you and that appears to be the norm among officials now.”

Meanwhile, Tyrone boss Mickey Harte was happy to get the job done, as the Red Hands move on to an Ulster semi-final date on June 18.

He said: “It is always about winning in the first round.

“And it is always difficult because you don’t know what the opposition is going to bring, particularly when it is Derry.

“I would say they would be happier with that performance than last year because last year it was over at half-time and ten minutes into the second half it looked a lot like not being over.

“But then we got a grip on the game again.”

GAA Football

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