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Dismissed Tyrone star Joe McMahon backed by Ulster manager Joe Kernan

By John Campbell

Two red cards since the start of the year have served to cast Joe McMahon in an unfamiliar light.

It was against Mayo in the Allianz League in February that the play-anywhere Tyrone ace received his marching orders, before being sent for an early bath again; this time, in rather more controversial circumstances by referee Joe McQuillan, in Sunday's Ulster Championship quarter-final.

It was a second yellow card that led to his expulsion in the 62nd minute, but the Omagh St Enda's player can consider himself fortunate that the first, seven minutes earlier, was not a red, following his tangle with Ross Wherity.

But as McMahon takes his punishment on the chin, Ulster manager Joe Kernan is backing the player to come back "even stronger" into the Red Hands line-up.

McMahon played a key role in the Ulster side that won the inter-provincial championship title earlier in the year, when Kernan referred to him as "the sticking plaster" within the team.

"Joe's ability to adapt to nearly any position makes him very valuable to any manager," said Kernan. "He has been very prominent for both Tyrone and Ulster over recent years and, while he has seen two red cards this year, I think his misdemeanours were born more out of frustration rather than malice."

McMahon's dismissal against Donegal meant that Tyrone's chances of salvaging the game were eradicated, particularly when their opponents had brought in a battery of fresh legs from their bench to see them through the final segment of the contest.

McMahon had started the game in midfield and had worked hard but, like his colleagues, had enjoyed little success.

"You will always get one hundred per cent effort from Joe McMahon, that's for sure," added Kernan.

"Maybe last Sunday was not one of his best days but he is very sensible and level-headed and I think he can come back from this a stronger player."

Belfast Telegraph


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