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Lyons' blast turns up heat on McHugh

FORMER Dublin manager Tommy Lyons has lashed Martin McHugh's "very calculated" TV analysis and accused the Donegal 1992 All-Ireland winner of "cute hoorism."

Mayo native Lyons turned up the heat on Donegal playmaker -- and McHugh's son -- Mark in a scathing attack on the elder McHugh's punditry.

Lyons, who was edged out of the Mayo job when James Horan was appointed, highlighted the Donegal man's criticism of Cork's tactics in their All-Ireland semi-final as an example.

"He goes on 'The Sunday Game' saying Cork made a bags of their tactics putting a man up on Mark McHugh," Lyons said at the launch of the FBD 7s, which take place in Kilmacud Crokes on Saturday.

"Well, anyone with two eyes could see that when Cork put a man up on Mark McHugh in the first half, Mark McHugh didn't get a kick of the ball and when Cork stopped doing that in the second half, McHugh ran Cork ragged. So, he's trying to make sure that teams don't push up on Mark McHugh.

"I think he's absolutely very calculated with what he's doing -- he's trying to throw out the dummies. He was very critical of Cork's tactics, which is a bolshy thing to do on national television when Cork had held them to nearly a level game at half-time with a certain tactic of pushing up. Donegal knew that that was upsetting them.

"Now Donegal were a lot better in the second half and they'd have won the game anyhow. But I think it was wrong to be that critical of Cork, to say that the tactics were all wrong. I think that was a bit tongue in cheek.

"I just thought he was being the cute auld hoor on the telly. And Tony Davis and the boys didn't respond to it. That auld cute hoorism, we're not all gobs***es.

"There's no need for it. He must think we're all stupid. He must think the punters in Ireland or the GAA people of Ireland are stupid to be at that nonsense on the telly."

Before Horan was installed, Lyons was thought to be the favourite to succeed John O'Mahony out west, but insists he has no regrets about missing out on the job as the county prepare for their first All-Ireland final appearance since 2006.

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"I put my name in the hat because I was asked to. I'd be very passionate about Mayo, I've spent an awful lot of time down there. I was born there, I came out of there when I was 10."

And Lyons was quick to praise the role of Donegal boss Jim McGuinness and Horan after they transformed their counties' fortunes.

"One of my key things about Mayo; they talk about winning All-Irelands when they have no right to talk about winning them. They've got to talk about winning matches and if you keep winning matches and if you end up winning the All-Ireland, then you can talk about winning it.

"Because when you haven't won one since 1951, what God-given right do you have to think you can win it every year? And the Mayo supporters do that every time Mayo get on a run.

"I think James Horan has done a fantastic job on managing that whole process, particularly this year and last year. Equally, Jim McGuinness has done the same thing.

"I mean you can't hold him responsible for the clowns in Donegal town or Letterkenny who are fighting over the stupid stuff (the homecoming).

"But if you are to ask me what county could put too much pressure on their team, Donegal could. Donegal are the best equipped team to win it because they are further along the line than Mayo, but Mayo have come on leaps and bounds since the quarter-final.

"They even dismissed Down and Down aren't that bad a team. Dublin didn't fire, but Mayo still had a 10-point lead on them and Dublin cantered through Leinster. Mayo have a lot more to offer than people think."

When contacted last night, McHugh refused to get involved in a war of words, declining to make any comment.


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