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Ulster Championship: Call for respect in wake of Tyrone star’s injury

By John Campbell

Tyrone chairman Ciaran McLaughlin has urged all players to show greater respect for each other now that the Championship season is almost upon us.

As his county’s Competitions Control Committee prepares to deal with the report of referee Cathal O’Hagan from Sunday’s club game between Omagh St Enda’s and Moortown in which Tyrone All-Ireland winner Joe McMahon sustained a badly broken jaw, McLaughlin has stressed that even isolated incidents cast a slur on the GAA as a whole.

“We cannot accept assaults on players during the course of games,” declared Strabane man McLaughlin.

“Every player deserves the same level of protection and we have to try and ensure that he gets it.

“I myself have a son playing club football and I would not like to think that he would end up in hospital because of his involvement in a particular game,” he added.

McLaughlin led the Tyrone delegation to Congress at the week-end where they heard GAA president Christy Cooney reiterate that players are in essence amateur volunteers and “cannot be made to play.”

This struck a distinct chord with all 350 delegates present and McLaughlin has now made a plea for a greater level of sportsmanship within games.

“It is a matter of considerable regret that an amateur who plays for the love of the game and his club should not be able to go to his work on a Monday because of injuries he might have received in a game on the previous day,” said McLaughlin.

“Of course, players will always pick up knocks and strains in the heat of a game but injuries that happen because of off-the-ball incidents, deliberate targeting of opponents or particularly heavy tackling are preventable.

“There is no place for this kind of activity in gaelic football,” he warned.

It is understood that Joe McMahon, who was married earlier this year and is employed as a full-time coaching officer, has now been released from hospital and is recovering at home but he will be out of action for three months.

“The Omagh St Enda’s and Tyrone teams are being denied the services of a top player, one of the most versatile in the game, at what is one of the most important periods of the year — that is very disappointing,” said McLaughlin.

Club players were in competitive action for the first time this year last Sunday and while there was an unusually high ratio of knocks sustained by some of the more high-profile personnel, McMahon’s injuries in particular have cast a shadow not only over Tyrone’s preparations for the Ulster Championship but over the province as a whole.

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St Pay's, Maghera claimed the last colleges football title of the season when they proved too strong for a gallant St Pat’s, Dungannon in the Dalton Cup final in Cookstown, winning 4-9 to 3-5.

Brian Cassidy and Gearoid McLaughlin scored two goals in the space of a minute to help Maghera to a 2-5 to 0-3 lead at the break.

Further goals from Michael Mullan and substitute Conall Darragh sealed victory for a powerful Maghera side.

Belfast Telegraph

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