Thursday 21 November 2019

Colm Parkinson: Tyrone must take heads out of sand

Monaghan’s Kieran Hughes tussles with Tyrone duo Cathal McCarron (4) and Niall Morgan
Monaghan’s Kieran Hughes tussles with Tyrone duo Cathal McCarron (4) and Niall Morgan

Colm Parkinson

Colm O'Rourke and Ciaran Whelan were on the money on the Sunday game regarding Tyrone's antics on Saturday.

The reaction from ex-Tyrone players and supporters has been a familiar one. The general tone of the comments have been that O'Rourke played on dirty Meath teams and Whelan was no angel himself, so they have no business criticising Tyrone.

That sort of response completely misses the point. Tyrone football has been involved in a number of unsavoury incidents over the past decade, from club to inter-county. It can't always be someone else's fault.

We saw diving, feigning injury, sledging and goading from their brilliant '03 to '08 All-Ireland winning teams. Any criticism was put down to Kerry or Armagh, or whoever they beat, being sore losers.

In club football, Derrytresk were accused of some shocking behaviour against Dromid Pearces in Portlaoise a few years ago. After that game the Dromid manager said: "I have to say our players were provoked. The tactics they had in beating us, I didn't agree with."

We regularly hear of violence in club football in Tyrone. We hear of Joe McMahon getting his jaw broken and a referee and ladies football chairman getting beaten up by supporters after a ladies football match. Carrickmore and Dromore had an all-out brawl during a league final not too long ago.

After this year's All-Ireland U-21 final, Tipperary refused the Tyrone manager, Feargal, Logan entry into their dressing-room because of the antics of Tyrone players towards the end of the game. Another sore loser?

Declan Bonner felt like quitting the game because of comments made by a Tyrone player to his Donegal minor captain about his father who had passed away. Tyrone denied that too.

In May, the Tyrone seniors were involved in a bad-tempered game with Donegal and it was the same against Monaghan on Saturday.

When Monaghan played Donegal we saw a much more sporting game.

Former Tyrone star Brian McGuigan was on the show on Monday night. He said that because the All-Ireland-winning teams he played on had players who liked to goad opponents, club players and younger fans were probably looking on thinking this is the way to go.

Underage star Kyle Coney tweeted after the McCann dive "Winning's all that matters. I'd dive like Tom Daley if it was called for.!!"

A culture of "winning is all that matters" has developed in Tyrone. If this group of Tyrone players got inspiration from the last generation - who, it must be said, were one the best teams in the history of the GAA - I shudder to think what the next generation will be like.

Irish Independent

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