Mayo reject claim of ‘collusion’ with Monaghan


Gallagher claimed Mayo had advised Monaghan on how to beat Donegal in their challenge game in Longford the week prior to the Ulster final.

The Fermanagh man suggested that, as Mayo had fouled Mark McHugh early in last year’s All-Ireland final, Monaghan had taken a leaf out of their book with Stephen Gollogly’s tackle on the forward forcing him out of last month’s game in Clones with concussion, a burst ear drum and a quad muscle tear.

“Maybe we suspect there was a bit of collusion between Monaghan and Mayo,” Gallagher told The Irish News. “Bear in mind Lee Keegan’s tackle on Mark McHugh at the start of last year’s All-Ireland final. When Lee Keegan got booked, he came out and winked at a team-mate as if to say ‘job done’.

“I don’t believe for one minute that Gollogly went out to do the harm he did. He went out to hit him hard, but our player came out of it badly. I know Gollogly hurt himself as well. I don’t believe Malachy O’Rourke sent any player out to ‘do’ anyone. That is not in his nature. But ask some of the top referees to view the incident. Was it a dangerous tackle? It was reckless and dangerous. At the end of the day, that deserves a red card.”

Mayo have flatly rejected the notion that they helped Monaghan in any way other than providing opposition in the challenge game.

“I don’t know what sort of thinking the Donegal camp are coming up with there,” said Mayo PRO Aiden McLoughlin. “That just wouldn’t be happening. It’s well documented the counties played in tough and physical challenge match the week before the Ulster and Connacht finals. It was a productive game for the Mayo camp and from what I hear Monaghan were of the same thinking. That’s as much ‘collusion’ as what went on. All we’re looking forward to is the challenge of an All-Ireland quarter-final and, whether it is Donegal or any other team, we are preparing for it in the manner we always would.”

Gallagher also said Horan works with the team’s sports psychologist, Irish Examiner writer Kieran Shannon, on what he says to the media. “I think Horan works to a pre-meditated script and I think Kieran Shannon is behind a good bit of it. I know Shannon fairly well. He was involved with Fermanagh when Malachy O’Rourke was there. I think Shannon is behind Horan’s statements.”

McLoughlin and Gallagher’s remarks are the latest in a war of words between the counties ahead of Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final.

Prior to the draw with Mayo, McGuinness listed the four concussions his players had suffered and a third man tackle on Michael Murphy in last Saturday’s fourth round qualifier win over Laois.

In his Gaelic Life magazine column, former Tyrone player Brian McGuigan claimed the Donegal manager was attempting to agitate Monaghan and influence referees.

“He knew what he was playing at, trying to rile Monaghan, and I was glad to see Malachy O’Rourke coming out in defence of his team and his player,” said McGuigan.

“I’ve watched the incident back, and I don’t think for a second that Gollogly went to take Mark McHugh out in the way he ended up doing. Only for the clash of heads, which wouldn’t have been intentional.

“I know Mark McHugh is a big player for Donegal, but to suggest that he was singled out or targeted in that way is just silly talk in my book. I don’t think it was right to do that.

“It’s all mind games ahead of this weekend, trying to get inside the referee’s head and maybe influence him to give Donegal the benefit of the doubt.”

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