/ GAA

Jim McGuinness fears for the safety of his Donegal players

Updated: Monday, 29 Jul 2013 21:43 | Comments

Mark McHugh and Jim McGuinness emerge from the tunnel at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada
Mark McHugh and Jim McGuinness emerge from the tunnel at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada

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Donegal manager Jim McGuinness says he is not happy with what he perceives as the overly physical nature of the tackles that his side has had to endure in recent matches.

The All-Ireland winning boss was speaking to RTÉ Sport in the aftermath of the All-Ireland qualifier win over Laois and spoke of the sport being in a "very dangerous position”.

The Carrick-on-Shannon encounter saw McGuinness seek out an official and demand of him that his players get more protection.

The intervention did not go down well with Laois manager Justin McNulty and what followed was some pushing and jostling on the sidelines involving both camps.

When the final whistle had blown and the dust had well and truly settled, McGuinness referred back to the Ulster final and the injuries picked up by Mark McHugh.

McHugh picked up a number of injuries - including concussion and a perforated eardrum - in a collsion with Monaghan’s Stephen Gollogly. Gollogly suffered an injury to his face. The referee took no action after the incident.

“I’m not happy that we have a player with a busted eardrum, [who] sustained major concussion and has a five-centimetre tear in his quad muscle. Mark had to spend two nights in hospital and had to take the week off work.

"For me, we’re in a very dangerous position. My biggest fear is a spinal injury or a neck injury. We have to create a situation where it’s okay to put people out on the pitch

“We are not afraid of physicality. However, there’s a difference between physicality and busted eardrums, concussions and serious leg injuries. McHugh’s injury last week was our fourth concussion in three games. I would imagine that Munster Rugby or Leinster Rugby would not have that level.

“You have a duty of care to your players and I would be fearful that my lads are going to end up on the receiving end of something that is going to cause everybody a lot of pain.

"That is something I don’t want to happen and it’s not a situation I'd like to preside over.

“The game of football is not worth it if it gets to that point. Having a serious injury to contend with would negate the positive experiences we’ve had as a squad. People will have to deal with the consequences if something serious happens.

“I played midfield for Donegal and no matter how hard I shouldered an opponent I never busted an eardrum, never left anyone concussed and I didn't put a five-centimetre hole in anyone's leg."

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