DONEGAL may be delighted with their escape to victory over Kildare -- but they're livid over what they perceive as Lilywhite attempts to influence referee Maurice Deegan ahead of Saturday night's quarter-final.
Manager Jim McGuinness hit back at quotes emanating from the Kildare camp and circulated to the national media on Friday, labelling his team as cynical, professional foulers.
In one broadcast interview after the game, McGuinness claimed: "We got a phone call yesterday (Friday) from some of the papers saying Kildare had contacted them to put the article in the paper, you know? And the article was based on putting pressure on the referee to make decisions. For us, the referee is there to referee the game. Let him get on with it."
The article in question included comments from Kildare selector Niall Carew, who was quoted as saying: "It's all going to come down to the interpretation of the referee. If he lets Donegal continue with the cynical fouling of the opposition half-back line in particular, then yes, they will be hard to break down."
Carew suggested that Kildare would "have a chance" if the referee handed out yellows where merited, but they would find it hard to move the ball quickly if Donegal "get away with professional fouls".
Responding after the game, McGuinness was quick to highlight Kildare's descent into cynicism during the latter stages -- they had five players booked in extra-time. "The cynical fouling by Kildare was ridiculous. There was rugby tackling and pulling people down," he pointed out.
"Kieran McGeeney was a phenomenal player and he never cried or whinged - we were not impressed by what we read."
McGeeney responded on RTÉ: "Jim knows where I am if he wants to chat to me", adding: "I could talk about different things, what a Donegal player said to me after the game. That's childish and Jimmy should know better."