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Cavanagh: I’m being treated like Balotelli

By Donnchadh Boyle

Sean Cavanagh laughed that he feels like the “Mario Balotelli of the GAA” after being accused of diving by TV pundits.

In the aftermath of Tyrone's one-point defeat to Monaghan, Joe Brolly and Pat Spillane agreed that Cavanagh was guilty of trying to con the referee through what Brolly described as the “dispiriting sight” of the Moy man “diving to the ground” while seemingly dragging the tackler down.

Cavanagh was involved in incidents that saw two Monaghan players black-carded and another shown a yellow late in the Ulster quarter-final clash, while he might have picked up a black card himself.

It's the second time in less than a year that Cavanagh has been criticised by Brolly and he referenced the Italian footballer's famous ‘Why always me?' t-shirt when quizzed on the Derry man's latest comments.

But he denied any wrongdoing and insisted he would be disappointed to be considered that type of player.

“Obviously, I've been here before and I'm beginning to feel a little bit like Mario Balotelli” the former Footballer of the Year smiled.

“Whenever you slow these tackles down to a millisecond, you can read into it. The way I felt at the time was that Darren (Hughes) came in hard and no matter what the outcome was going to be, it was going to be a free to us.

“I know he had maybe his left arm around me on the other side so, ok, I was maybe holding his arm. It's not something you do.

“I would never try to cheat to win a free in my life, it's more that whenever someone is coming at you at speed and you're falling, it's like a protection mechanism. It gives you a loose elbow or whatever you get when you're falling.

“These things happen so quickly it's very hard to put your finger on why it happened in any position, but to read an assumption into that that I was trying to cheat is really disappointing because I don't see myself as that type of player.”

Cavanagh continued: “It's annoying because last year it was intentional and I held my hands up and said, ‘yeah, look, grand, I did it for the benefit of my team'.

“But the one on Sunday, it never even crossed my mind (to cheat). I remember getting the ball and thinking, ‘I'm going towards goal, if I can get a goal, great, if I can get a chance for a point, great'. But it was never an intention to try and win a free in the first place.

“I knew at the time it was a free. It's just disappointing that people make assumptions based on one thing.

“I don't feel it was warranted. Like anything in life, everybody has their opinions. Hopefully most GAA people will see it for what it is again.”

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