Sunday 17 December 2017

McGuinness: Comments were 'twisted' by media

JIM McGUINNESS insists his Donegal footballers are "not afraid of physicality" and that his comments about third-man tackles and the Ulster final injuries shipped by Mark McHugh were twisted in the media over the past week.

While McGuinness is left to pick over the debris of yesterday's Mayo-inflicted meltdown and mull over his own future, the Donegal manager was at pains to stress afterwards that he wasn't in the business of creating diversions with his controversial post-match comments last weekend.

"You're asking me a question there now, and you've got the two things wrong," he declared. "We never, ever, ever said we were afraid of physicality. Ever. I explicitly said the opposite to that.

"We're not afraid of physicality. What I raised was stuff that was going on off-the-ball when we were attacking.

"James Horan made comments during the week that Donegal have brought physicality to a new level – and I would agree with that on one level," he added.

"And if a game goes very, very physical out there, we can handle ourselves. We're not afraid of physicality.

"And all week, all the journalists have been talking about 'pot, kettle, black' in terms of Donegal physicality. We never, ever, once said we were afraid of physicality.

"You've got physicality on one side, which is a huge part of Gaelic games, hurling and football ... you've got that on one side, and you've got players being taken out of it. One is manly. One is cowardly."

McGuinness maintained that his comments – made after Donegal had beaten Laois but before he knew Mayo would provide the quarter-final opposition – were "twisted and used in the media this week. But it never came out of my mouth."

Expanding on his argument that Donegal players were being targetted, he claimed: "In the Laois game, we counted seven or eight times we were attacking and one of our players was taken out (of the game), 30 to 40 metres from where the ball was... that was the context of the comments."

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