GAA Football

Online abuse can affect families too: Tyrone's Tiernan McCann

Tiernan McCann of Tyrone tussles with Ryan McHugh of Donegal after an incident with the latter's grounded team-mate Stephen McMenamin last year.
Picture Margaret McLaughlin
Paul Keane

TYRONE'S Tiernan McCann has warned of the toll that can be inflicted by online abuse - including on the recipient's family.

"I think there has to be a widespread conscious effort from people to be very careful of what they say [online], said the Killyclogher clubman. "It's only six or eight weeks ago that Caroline Flack took her own life, which was incredibly sad, over vile comments she was receiving online for a number of months.

"People have to be very, very careful. I'm not saying I'm an angel, far from it, but at times people have to take some sort of care over what they say online.

"And it's not even me, I can take a lot of it, but when you see your own family, your brothers and sisters getting very, very annoyed and people writing personal stuff about somebody they don't even know, somebody they've seen a snippet of on the field and they think they know the person and don't, that's probably the most difficult thing to come to terms with. But I'll have to learn."

McCann, an All-Star nominee in both 2017 and 2018 and All-Ireland finalist in 2018, referenced how former Red Hands colleague Sean Cavanagh was forced to explain himself to a work client after being labelled a cheat for infamously dragging down Monaghan's Conor McManus in 2013.

"He's an amateur athlete, it should not affect your life," said McCann. "It's different if you're Harry Kane and you're getting two hundred thousand a week and it's your job, and you're acting in an unprofessional manner in a professional capacity.

"For somebody doing something as a hobby, as a sport, and dedicating a lot of their free time and dedicating a lot of things, it's definitely not right, it's definitely not fair."

McCann is living in Tyrone again having commuted from Dublin for several seasons while working there. The pharmacist is currently working in Monaghan and finding travel arrangements much easier.

"Looking back now, I don't know how I did it at times, honestly," said McCann. "If I remember back, down in Dublin, how did I drive up these roads, it's not even motorway bar 40 minutes of it. Thankfully I'm back home now but there's lads still doing it, lads all over the country doing more than two-hour drives."

McCann played in all five of Tyrone's Allianz League games before the COVID-19 shutdown, starting against Meath, Kerry and Galway. He came on in the Round 5 win over Dublin in Omagh, a week after their heavy defeat to Galway.

McCann described their win-loss-win-loss-win campaign as 'very up and down'.

"We went down to Galway and probably had the worst performance since I've been involved," he said. "I think it was probably Mickey Harte's greatest ever defeat. It was one of those days where everything went from bad to worse. Then we responded well with the win over Dublin in horrible conditions. That's what I mean, we just struggle for consistency."

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