Cavanagh: At times it can be quite personal - you just have to accept it
SEÁN Cavanagh says "there is no doubt," that the frequency and ferocity of sledging in Sunday's bitter Donegal v Tyrone match in Ballybofey was beyond anything he had experienced before.
"I know there was certain players, youse will probably know, that plays for us that have been through tough times, and they were getting a fair bit of personal abuse," outlined the Tyrone captain, who accepted that both sides were equally to blame.
"Look, it's disappointing to see and it's not just all one side," Cavanagh went on to admit.
"It's both sides. I don't know how you can change it."
"There is so much now on mental health of players and all that and there are players in dark places," he continued.
"You would hope that it doesn't come to the stage that some player tries to do something silly or something like that, if he has been abused or has had a bad game and people have really gotten on his case."
Asked specifically about the content of the verbals, Cavanagh clarified only that "family members," are routine subjects for such 'sledging.'
"Look at times, you just have to be thick skinned. At times it can be quite personal. You just have to accept it," he added.
Sledging is not a new phenomenon in the GAA, though it was arguably more visible on Sunday than in any other televised match in recent recall and The Sunday Game team revisited several instances in their highlights programme.
Asked whether bad blood had festered in the past, Cavanagh admitted: "At times.
"I would be fortunate in that I would always try and shake their hands, no matter how gut-wrenching it is going through that 70 minutes.
"I could probably sit down with a pen - I'm not going to but I could - and write down a list of 30 or 40 players over the last number of years that wouldn't have endeared themselves to me.
"I could be in other players' list as well. I am no angel, Michael Murphy is no angel.
"An awful lot of players are at fault but days like (Sunday), it does happen a wee bit more than normal and it does get out of control a wee bit."
Asked about the unseemly melee that erupted at half-time, Cavanagh blamed the involvement of mentors.