Saturday 16 December 2017

Mayo reject cynical tag after Cork talk up 'tactical fouling'

THE mind games season is up and running after Cork's management highlighted Mayo's alleged mastery of "tactical fouling" ahead of Sunday's All-Ireland SFC quarter-final.

Mayo chairman Paddy McNicholas has responded by insisting: "I don't think you could ever label Mayo teams as cynical ... our record over the last number of years speaks for that."

Brian Cuthbert (pictured) had already described James Horan's side as "extremely streetwise" and now selector Ronan McCarthy has gone further.

"The term 'streetwise' has been used. How does that translate onto the field? I suppose it means that up front they'd be good at tactical fouling, the likes of Cillian O'Connor and Kevin McLoughlin are good scorers but they're also key in terms of the little fouls they can commit in a game that go unnoticed but which stop a team's momentum," McCarthy claimed.

He added: "The black card is there to deal with that kind of thing, and it's important that the team of officials - and that team element is important - work at that."

pGAA president Liam O'Neill has rubbished Paul Grimley's suggestion that both he and director-general Páraic Duffy influenced disciplinary chiefs in their investigation of the pre-match parade row that marred the Ulster SFC clash between Armagh and Cavan.

O'Neill has belatedly reacted to the Armagh boss's claim that "hysterical" media reporting put pressure on the GAA's top two officials and the CCCC.

"He made an accusation, I'm not sure why he did," O'Neill said. "You'd need to ask him why he said that, but I certainly had no influence whatsoever."

He stressed: "Páraic and I have no hand, act or part in discipline, the appointment of referees or match officiating of any sort. I don't mind putting on record that I have never spoken to the CCCC on any discipline matter since I became president."

Meanwhile, Kerry have made one enforced change for Sunday's SFC quarter-final against Galway. Dingle's Michael Geaney replaces Stephen O'Brien (quad) at wing-forward.

KERRY (SF v Galway): B Kelly; M Ó Sé, A O'Mahony, S Enright; P Murphy, K Young, F Fitzgerald; A Maher, B Sheehan; M Geaney, J Buckley, D Walsh; P Geaney, D O'Sullivan, J O'Donoghue.

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