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Cynicism furore will not affect ref – Horan


Mayo manager James Horan celebrates a second half point against Donegal

Mayo manager James Horan celebrates a second half point against Donegal

Mayo manager James Horan celebrates a second half point against Donegal

Mayo manager James Horan doesn't believe the furore over cynicism after the first All-Ireland quarter-final between Tyrone and Monaghan will have any impact on how their semi-final against the Red Hand will be refereed.

Horan says he has no fears about the officiating in the face of such a media storm over elements of that quarter-final.

Ironically, Horan did caution earlier this year about how "officials and various things around the game" could be influenced by proclamations "about one team and one team only", a clear reference to a radio interview where analyst Joe Brolly referenced the number of cynical fouls he claimed Mayo executed in their All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin last August.

But Horan believes the impact on their game will be minimal, saying: "Maurice Deegan is reffing and I don't think anything that is said in the papers or at media nights is going to influence him. He is his own man and will ref it as he sees fit. I don't think there is any fear."

Horan commented on the difference between the hurling and football TV analysis of discipline and physicality.

"They are poles apart. The hurling guys don't want any frees or anyone sent off. Whereas the football guys seem determined... I'm being flippant but I don't think the game is as bad as it is sometimes made out.

"Gaelic football is a mad game. There are 28 guys running around the field in peak physical condition. There are going to be bangs and bashes and wallops. I don't think any team, or any team that I have been involved with, goes out intentionally to make sure that they stop people first before they start playing.

"Cynical fouling is a buzz word at the moment. It is not something that has developed in the game in the last 10 years – it is there since the day dot. If you look at 'TG4 Gold' you'll see what the definition of sledging is. It's just the game is more analysed now."

Horan made his comments as Tyrone circulated a document on Wednesday night pointing out how they had conceded 10pc fewer fouls than their direct opponents in their league and championship games this season.

The 'fact' sheet also pointed out that Sean Cavanagh was their most fouled player. But Cavanagh is invariably the Tyrone player who goes through most possession – against Monaghan he was on the ball a staggering 41 times.


With those figures and the type of running game he plays, it's inevitable that he is on the receiving end more than others.

Sports performance analyst Rob Carroll, who runs the gaelicstats.com website, feels the figures have been "oversimplified" to make the point.

Tyrone pointed out that they were fouled 280 times this season and have committed some 256 fouls themselves.

"There are a lot of factors to take in like where were the fouls committed, at what stage of the game was it, what was the score. All this has to be considered," he said. "I don't think something like this gives a completely accurate metric."

The other factor worth considering is the 'time in possession' stats for Tyrone by comparison to their opponents.

Having won six league and five championship matches out of 15 played in both competitions, it stands to reason that they would have enjoyed more possession, which could account for the percentage in fouls against them.

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