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Angry Mulligan wades into Kerry-Tyrone spitting storm after Galvin controversy

By Colm Keys

The bitter Kerry-Tyrone enmity has taken yet another twist with Owen Mulligan launching an impassioned defence of his club and a team-mate amidst more allegations of a spitting incident in a high-profile GAA match.

Mulligan's club Fr Rock's from Cookstown won last month's All-Ireland intermediate football final by beating a Finuge side featuring Kerry star Paul Galvin in Croke Park.

But over the weekend a video clip of an incident in that match surfaced on YouTube appearing to show Galvin being spat on.

The clip shows Galvin wiping his face and then protesting to Mulligan, who was on the field but was not involved in the alleged spitting incident.

The latest allegation comes as Tyrone County Board lay a charge of disrepute against a fan for allegedly spitting at Donegal's Footballer of the Year Karl Lacey after their recent league match in Omagh, and Leitrim forward Emlyn Mulligan's allegation that he was spat at during his side's defeat to Offaly in Sunday's football league Division 4 fixture in Carrick-on-Shannon.

Mulligan took to his twitter and Facebook accounts yesterday to vigorously defend the position of his club after the video clip made its way into the public domain. On Twitter, he said the spitting allegations were "out of control."

Mulligan claims the match was played against the backdrop of abusive comments but says in a very strongly-worded statement posted on his Facebook page that he is a firm believer that "what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch". As a consequence, he didn't want to go into detail of what was said immediately after the game, saying "the GAA has had enough negative press recently."

When contacted by the Irish Independent last night Mulligan re-iterated his support for his club and outlined how verbal abuse and sledging had become "unfortunately a strong part of the game."

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