Friday 9 December 2016

'Minor player was taunted over the death of his father' - Brendan Devenney

Published 21/05/2015 | 08:29

Former Donegal star Brendan Devenney
Former Donegal star Brendan Devenney

Former Donegal forward Brendan Devenney says he fears for the mental health of young GAA players after alleging a minor footballer was taunted over the death of his father by opposition players.

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This week, Sean Cavanagh brought the issue of 'sledging' in the GAA to a head following Donegal's bad-tempered win over Tyrone at the weekend.

In the aftermath of that game, Cavanagh said: "I've had it before... it can be very, very personal and I know there was certain players, you will probably know that play for us that have been through tough times, and they were getting a fair bit of personal abuse."

And now Devenney has lifted the lid on a sinister he alleged happened on the field of play.

“Up in Ulster, there is this perceived rest of the country versus Ulster attitude when it comes to football and how it is played," Devenney told the Examiner.

"You have people down South criticising the sledging, goading and cynicism that goes on in Ulster and those inside the province don’t like it. As somebody from Ulster, I have to say that what is going on and what we witnessed in Ballybofey in the senior game was a pile of s.....

"There is this harshness up North, particularly with the six counties. When I played with Donegal, we were seen as a soft touch.

“Armagh would have used those tactics of goading we saw at the weekend. Down would have done so, Tyrone too.

“I heard back from a very good source that one Donegal minor, who lost his father to cancer, was taunted about that during a game. That would turn your stomach.

“There is the mental health element here and are players able to take what is being said to them? What must that minor have been thinking after the game?”

And Devenney believes strongly that some of the managers are to blame.

“Players aren’t just deciding to taunt their players, I feel they are being instructed by management."

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