'My aim was to protect Karl Lacey,' says Donegal doctor
THE Donegal team doctor who was shoved to the ground by Armagh midfielder Aaron Findon bears no animosity towards the player and considers the matter closed.
Kevin Moran, a consultant surgeon/urologist based at Letterkenny Hospital, was sent flying by Findon during a melee that broke out in the ninth minute of Saturday's football quarter-final.
Mr Moran took a heavy fall, but got up, and once the row had ended, jogged back to the Donegal bench.
The incident sparked a heated discussion on RTE Radio 1 between pundit Joe Brolly and presenter Des Cahill, and was a major talking point after the game.
It had started when two Armagh players clashed with Karl Lacey off the ball as play swung downfield.
Lacey was left struggling with the two opponents and had no assistance. Eventually referee McQuillan stopped play, but at that stage more players from the two teams were getting involved. Mr Moran said he had only one reason for being on the pitch, and that was the health and safety of Lacey.
When he arrived on the scene he tried to calm players down, and it was then that Findon pushed him and sent him sprawling.
"My overriding concern is always and only the safety of the players on the field, and in that particular case, my sole aim was to protect Karl Lacey.
"I have had a message of apology conveyed to me today, and I have accepted it. I bear the player no ill-will whatsoever. I want that to be the end of the matter and I don't want to see any sanction against young Findon.
"All I want is for the young man to learn from this experience and that it would not happen again. I wish him well in his future career," said Mr Moran.
It's not unusual for players to become embroiled in physical confrontations, but nobody can recall a team doctor being on the receiving end of a clash with a player.
Findon was the only player to receive a booking for the row from referee Joe McQuillan, despite players from both sides engaging in the unseemly melee.
The GAA authorities will await receipt of referee Joe McQuillan's report before deciding there are to be any repercussions for Findon or any other player.
As far as Donegal are concerned, county chairman Sean Dunnion said they would not be pursuing the matter.
"He (the doctor) was fine afterwards. There was nothing really in it. We're not even going to talk about it. I don't know why it's being talked about. It's a non-issue as far as I'm concerned.
"The match is played now. Whatever went on, we won by a point and we're delighted with that, and that's it. We're looking forward to the Dublin game," said Dunnion.
Also in the match, Armagh manager Paul Grimley and Donegal defender Eamon McGee had strong words, and McGee also admitted to a verbal spat with Armagh coach Kieran McGeeney.
Grimley and McGee were not concerned about those issues after the game. When asked about his squaring up to the Donegal player, Grimley replied: "Ach, no, he just wanted to get a closer look at me."
McGee said: "Kieran wanted to get a message on to (Kevin) Dyas and I was just marking him.
"After it we were laughing – I said to him (Dyas), 'That message better have been important with all the hassle it caused'."
On RTE radio, Joe Brolly and Des Cahill expressed contrasting views about the issue. Brolly said he felt Cahill was making too much of it, while the presenter said "I'm not allowing you trivialize it."
It was certainly a bizarre moment, although clashes between players and team officials have occurred on occasion in the past. In 2008, the then Dublin football stats man Ray Boyne received a 16-week ban from the Central Competitions Control Committee for an incident at a league game at Parnell Park.