Former Dublin midfielder Ciaran Whelan believes that Tyrone forward Tiernan McCann should apologise for his role in the sending off of Monaghan’s Darren Hughes in Saturday’s All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park.
The Sunday Game analyst believes that McCann needs to show some ‘honesty and integrity’ following the incident, where the Tyrone man collapsed to the ground feigning injury after Hughes appeared to tussle his hair.
Whelan said: “If I was in his shoes, I’d come out, sweep it under the carpet and apologise and say 'listen, yes it's bad sportsmanship, I shouldn’t have done it, somebody got sent off as a result of it'.
“And hold your hand up, show a bit of honesty and integrity and say ‘I was wrong’. It will be interesting to see does it happen."
And the criticism was not just aimed at McCann but rather at the entire Tyrone team who Whelan believes turned the game in to a dogfight and let themselves down.
Whelan, who was known as a tough-tackling midfielder and occasionally courted controversy in his time playing for Dublin, believed that Tyrone had overstepped the mark with Saturday's display, which sees them progress to the All-Ireland semi-finals against Kerry.
“Both sides are guilty, but Tyrone knew they could press Monaghan’s buttons and they knew they'd suck Monaghan into a dogfight,” said Whelan. “It’s appalling stuff, there’s no doubt about it, it’s appalling stuff.
“We’ve all done stuff maybe we haven’t been proud of but I think there has to be a bit of honesty and integrity on behalf of Tyrone because I don’t think they’re doing themselves proud as a county, I think they’re letting themselves down.
“It’s not just us picking on them, this is a fairly widespread view that they’re dragging games down to a level.
“I would think there are people in Tyrone that are sitting back and saying they’re not proud of that.
“They showed in the naughties that they can play football and can play football very well. But this is a trend that started against Meath a couple of years ago. Particularly in the last ten or 15 minutes, they’re very, very cynical.”
And fellow Sunday Game pundit, Colm O’Rourke suggested that perhaps the CCCC (Central Competition Controls Committee) should teach McCann a lesson and suspend him for the Kerry encounter for bringing the game into disrepute.
“This is dreadful stuff from Tiernan McCann, he should be ashamed of himself,” said O’Rourke. “If Tiernan McCann was suspended for the All-Ireland semi-final, he would soon learn the error of his ways, or any of these other players that got involved in any of the incidents.
“I have sort of always thought that maybe there was too much made of this from Tyrone but it’s beginning to follow them around like a bad smell now, this cynical play and yesterday they brought it to new lows.
“It will come back to bite Tyrone. Some day Sean Cavanagh will be tackled and he should get a free and a ref will say ‘to hell with that, he’s always diving.’ They have cried wolf too often, it’s not on what they’re doing.
“The management of the Tyrone team should sort it out or the CCC should sort it out. It’s a blight on the game, and it’s sullying the good football that Tyrone are playing.”
Monaghan's Darren Hughes also had his say on the matter, as he took to Twitter to have a satirical swipe at the aforementioned McCann.