Philly McMahon on eye-gouging claims: ‘We’re grown men; we play a physical sport’

Dublin’s Philly McMahon has defended himself regarding allegations he eye-gouged Kieran Donaghy yesterday, describing the on-field incident as happening “in the heat of battle”.

McMahon has come in for heavy criticism from GAA fans after the incident late in the second-half of yesterday’s All-Ireland SFC final, which Dublin won.

Kerry substitute Donaghy went over to the referee and pointed at his eye after an altercation with McMahon, but no action was taken.

The Dublin player spoke to Marty Morrissey about the incident on RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland earlier.

“It was a slippy day, the ball was on the ground to be challenged,” he said. “I went down to challenge the ball and he’s a big lad.

“Trying to get around Kieran Donaghy is hard.”

McMahon’s comments fall short of actually denying the eye-gouge, but he believes the incident should now be forgotten.

“At the end of the day, the result is what ends it, we shake hands and get on with it,” he added. “It’s the heat of the battle. We’d like to say part of our culture is humility and the same with the Kerry lads.

“What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch. We shook hands and that was the end of it.”

The Sunday Game panel came in for serious criticism for making light of the incident last night and McMahon’s attempts to brush the controversy aside are also unlikely to be successful.

He said: “This is Gaelic football. We’re grown men, we play a physical sport.”

Many GAA fans would like it to be made crystal clear that eye-gouging has no place in the sport, no matter how hot the battle.

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