herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Roche's Point: Tyrone rise and fall into disrepute

Herald columnist Ciaran Whelan
Herald columnist Ciaran Whelan

Tyrone have a long-established touchiness when it comes to media coverage, maybe because they see themselves as victims of too many 'deliberate body collides' and 'cynical pull-downs' from various pundits who have never shied away from putting the metaphorical boot in.

So one can only imagine how they will react to the avalanche of criticism that has followed that horribly depressing climax to Saturday's All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan.

Will they boycott RTÉ in retaliation for the trenchant words of Colm O'Rourke and Herald columnist Ciaran Whelan on The Sunday Game? That might work as a tactic ... if only Tyrone were talking to them in the first place.

Strangely (or maybe not strangely as all) we had very little negative talk on Sky Sports' live coverage, although co-commentator Darragh Ó Sé was struggling to contain his frustration at the fall-over and stay-down tendencies of some players during the home straight.

Time-wasting

Elsewhere, though, instead of celebrating the Red Hands' rejuvenation as an All-Ireland contender, we've had endl ess focus on Tieran McCann's, ahem, fall from grace and various other acts of real or alleged injury-feigning, time-wasting, cynical fouling and whatever other type of spoiling you're having.

Do you sense a siege mentality bubbling to the surface in Garvaghey?

If that's the case, then maybe Tyrone should pause for a bout of critical introspection instead. Will McCann, who now rivals Rivaldo among the great sporting thespians of our time, come out and say 'mea culpa'? Will Mickey Harte admit publicly that some of his players took gamesmanship too far?

You could be waiting.

Will the CCCC do anything to call the simulators to task? Or is it time for a more draconian rule to keep pace with the cheater's charter?

Simulated

Specifically, if video evidence proves a player simulated injury in an attempt to get an opponent sent off, ther e should be retrospective suspension rather than the current (meaningless) admonishment of a yellow card. Miss an All-Ireland semi-final and you'll think twice before tumbling.

Monaghan were anything but innocents abroad during Saturday's descent into chaos, true. As inevitable defeat beckoned, their palpable frustration boiled over into several acts of indiscipline. Moreover, some criticism of the Cavanagh brothers has been overstated: Seán was clearly caught in the face by Paul Finlay (who was duly booked) while Colm had been sent flying by a Darren Hughes trip (it looked a blatant black card offence, in our eyes) as the precursor to the latter's subsequent 'Hairgate' flashpoint with McCann and his red card.

However, it was the collective approach of Tyrone in that home straight that has sullied their achievement. They were in control and decided cynically - there is no other word - to run down the clock in a manner that brought the game itself into disrepute.

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