Donegal manager Rory Gallagher plays down half-time melee
Published 17/05/2015 | 18:47
Donegal manager Rory Gallagher played down the half-time incident involving both teams in Ballybofey while captain Michael Murphy admitted the Ulster derby was always going to be a physical affair.
The opening round of the Ulster championship was every bit as competitive as many had predicted, with both sides finishing with 14 men as the reigning provincial champions had three points to spare over Mickey Harte's Tyrone.
In what was a niggly game throughout, Donegal's Neil Gallagher and Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh were given their marching orders while there was melee at the end of the first half involving players and mentors from both sides.
While nobody appeared to be hurt, the pushing and shoving delayed both sides leaving the pitch and there was an undercurrent throughout.
The red cards brandished by referee Joe McQuillan, black cards after a previous booking in both cases, was almost inevitable, but after the match Gallagher made light of the half-time incident.
"I just think it was two teams heading in, there was very little in it," he said post-match.
His captain Michael Murphy had Justin McMahon follow his every step throughout and on a number of occasions was double-marked, but the 25-year-old said it is part and parcel of Ulster football.
"It was a tough game, two teams really going at it and going at it hard," he admitted. "You'd expect nothing less in a derby in the first round in Ulster.
"It's championship football and that's what you want," he added. "You want to be testing yourself against the best and Tyrone are one of the best teams in the country.
"There is no point in going out and doing things half-heartedly.
Gallagher says that while their attentions will now turn to Armagh in four weeks' time, he is just happy to have come through on the right side of another tight tussle with their Ulster rivals.
"I though Tyrone put up a massive performance. The goal brought them back into it and we were never comfortable. At the end of the day we were hanging on a wee bit with a great save from Paul Durcan.