Monaghan set to mount challenge to Hughes red
Harte jumps to McCann's defence but forward may face CCCC rap for discrediting the game
Darren Hughes will challenge the red card he received in last Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Tyrone after it emerged that it was given for his 'altercation' with Tiernan McCann.
The Tyrone man dived theatrically to the ground after Hughes rubbed his hand through McCann's hair.
McCann's reaction to what Hughes did has provoked much criticism but his manager Mickey Harte came to his defence yesterday in a BBC radio interview.
Harte said the player would "respond differently" in the same situation but also apportioned some blame to Hughes for his role in the incident.
McCann could yet face a suspension as the Central Competition Controls Committee have yet to review the incident.
Feigning injury warrants a yellow card under rule but it is open to the CCCC to determine whether or not McCann committed an offence which discredited the association. In that instance, he could potentially face a two-month ban.
Hughes had felled Colm Cavanagh with a tackle as he came out of defence with the ball in the 70th minute and referee Marty Duffy was reaching for a card, presumably black, when Hughes put his hands through McCann's hair.
Duffy sent off the Monaghan man for striking but that charge is likely to be struck out at a future hearings committee meeting. Hughes would miss the first round of next year's league if a one-match ban were to stand.
Last year Hughes successfully overturned a black card he picked up against Monaghan for a challenge that brought Cavanagh to the ground.
Using video evidence, Monaghan were able to show that Hughes had not brought Cavanagh down deliberately.
Harte believes the Scotstown man is not blameless in the matter but accepted that "people make mistakes from time to time".
"I don't think he (McCann) is the first person to overreact and he won't be the last one to ever do it and I think there is plenty of precedents there where this has happened before and it hasn't caused the same furore," said Harte in the interview.
"Tiernan McCann is a fine young man, a wonderful footballer. He did lots of good things on Saturday in the game that seem to have been overlooked. I just want to say that he wasn't entirely to blame for all of this.
"If the player who raised his hand had chosen to do something differently then the outcome would have been different as well.
"That's life, people make mistakes from time to time," he said.
"I don't think there is anyone in this world that hasn't made a mistake now and again. I have to say, on behalf of Tiernan McCann, if he had the chance again he would have responded differently to what happened to him and we all accept that.
"Tiernan was the first man to say: 'I should have responded differently'. He accepted that and we've accepted that."
Harte also raised the challenge by Monaghan's Paul Finlay on Seán Cavanagh for which Finlay picked up a yellow card in the 52nd minute, just after coming on the field.
"Is that a worse thing to do than punch somebody in the back of the head? Somebody else will have to give me the answer."
Meanwhile, the GAA's chairman of the national referees appointments committee Willie Barrett has dismissed the view that officials will be in any way influenced by opinions that Tyrone players are diving to win frees and land opponents in trouble.
Former Meath footballer and 'Sunday Independent' analyst Colm O'Rourke suggested on the 'Sunday Game' that such behaviour "will come back to bite Tyrone".
"Some day Sean Cavanagh will be tackled and he should get a free and a ref will say, 'To hell with that, he's always diving'. This is what's going to happen. They have cried wolf too often, it's not on what they're doing."
But Barrett says referees are in no way influenced by reputations or perceptions that build up around players and are coldly detached from game to game.
"Referees only referee the next game as they see it," said the Tipperary man. "There is absolutely no question of a referee making a decision based on what he saw on television or based on what he saw in a previous game.
"You could have the next match involving the two semi-finalists and there might not be one black card in it. You can't go by what happened in the last game."
He said it is an imperative for referees to be their own men at all times.
"We have very good referees who ignore anything that might be in the media or on TV and move on in their game. I can make assurances that the focus of the football semi-finalists will be on their own game."
Barrett said they are conscious of the potential for all types of foul play, not just feigning injury.
"The clips are shown regularly. There will be a briefing for referees involved in semi-finals. They are briefed in every aspect of the game.
"I don't think feigning injury has come to the boil too much in 2015. There was one or two cases of it. For a referee to be sure that a player is feigning injury, he has to be absolutely certain.
"He would have to err on the side of caution in that instance, when you are particularly dealing with injuries."
McMahon may need surgery - Harte
Tyrone manager Mickey Harte last night revealed that Joe McMahon may need surgery on a groin injury.
McMahon lasted just seven minutes of last Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan before being forced out of the action and replaced by his younger brother Justin.
But Harte said he is hoping that Joe will still be available for the semi-final against champions Kerry on August 23.
The Red Hands have an otherwise clean bill of health for the clash with the Kingdom.