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'Not only did he feign injury, he took a dive. He was a little bit out of control'

The Sunday Game panellists were scathing in their criticism of Dublin star Philly McMahon.

Philly McMahon and Aidan O'Shea square up at Croke Park yesterday.
Philly McMahon and Aidan O'Shea square up at Croke Park yesterday.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

FORMER MAYO STAR Kevin McStay was pretty honest in his assessment of Dublin star Philly McMahon’s antics at Croke Park yesterday.

On The Sunday Game last night, McStay accused McMahon of feigning injury and taking a dive, while also warning that the Ballymun Kickhams player could be facing a ban for aiming a headbutt at Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea.

The flashpoint episode involving O’Shea and McMahon was one of just a number of incidents during the course of a niggly All-Ireland football semi-final at Croke Park.

And after taking Tyrone to the cleaners in recent weeks, the panellists couldn’t defend elements of yesterday’s game.

Diarmuid Connolly, James McCarthy and Philly McMahon clash with Aidan OÕShea There was plenty of needle between Dublin and Mayo. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ex-Dublin star Ciaran Whelan admitted: ”We have to be very up front and honest about it, you couldn’t see it on TV, the pulling and dragging off the ball, guys’ runs being pulled down when plays were being set up.

“There was a lot of cynicism in the game today and it’s becoming a very difficult game for a referee to officiate.

“Diarmuid Connolly was targeted off the ball on numerous occasions, Aidan O’Shea was targeted, the two big players coming into this game were both targeted by the opposition.

“I think referees and linesmen have a duty to protect them.”

McStay reflected: ”There was a nasty undercurrent to it, there’s no question, on both sides.”

Kevin McStay Kevin McStay wasn't impressed by Philly McMahon's antics. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Kerry legend Tomás Ó Sé reckoned that Cavan referee Joe McQuillan was partly culpable.

“If you ask players, they want the top referees reffing.

“I’m not trying to be nasty towards McQuillan or anything like that, but there there are three or four refs, they’re the top refs in the game. They should be given the top games.”

Ó Sé believes that Dublin ace Connolly will be a massive loss for next Saturday’s replay if he, as will be proposed, serves a one-game ban after receiving a red card.

“They both go the ground (Lee Keegan and Connolly), from that, you can see that Diarmuid throws a dunt,” said Ó Sé.

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Diarmuid Connolly leaves the field after being sent off Diarmuid Connolly trudges off. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“The ref dealt with it, gave a yellow card to Keegan. Diarmuid did throw a belt, he hasn’t been involved in trouble for a long, long time.

“He’s going to be a huge loss to Dublin if it is carried through.”

But it was McMahon and O’Shea’s tangle that drew most attention from the panel, and McStay didn’t hold back.

“Not only did he (McMahon) feign injury, he took a dive, and followed it up pretty quickly with some pulling and dragging,” said McStay.

“It might be difficult to prove, this headbutt, in a few days time but he certainly moves his head towards Aidan O’Shea.

“That’s a category 4 infraction, attempted strike with the head.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

“It will be interesting to see what’s said about that. But his earlier stuff, the diving and the feigning…this show was very hard on Tyrone-Monaghan and indeed Tyrone the last day as well.

“Fair play is good sport as they say and at the top level the Dublin player today, diving and feigning injury, he held up the game for nearly two minutes holding his head.

“He was not struck, in fact he was attempting to get Aidan O’Shea into trouble.

“I don’t like saying that about Philly but there were times today when he was a little bit out of control, his self discipline was lost.”

Whelan agreed: “He took a dive and he held his head. We’ve seen it a couple of weeks ago, it’s not acceptable. He certainly won’t be happy when he reflects on those incidents.”

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