Tyrone: We don't coach fouling

Tyrone have hit back at allegations that they are a 'fouling team' by issuing a sheet of 'facts' to those attending their press night ahead of next week's All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Mayo.

Tyrone: We don't coach fouling

Tyrone have hit back at allegations that they are a 'fouling team' by issuing a sheet of 'facts' to those attending their press night ahead of next week's All-Ireland SFC semi-final against Mayo.

Journalists at last night's media event in Garvaghey received a sheet of paper by the Tyrone camp, the top line of which read: 'Never let the facts get in the way of a good story...?'.

The move comes after accusations were levelled at Tyrone in the wake of their quarter-final win over Monaghan by various pundits, including RTÉ's Joe Brolly.

Sean Cavanagh's 'rugby tackle' challenge on Monaghan's Conor McManus, which earned him a yellow card and prevented a scoring opportunity for the Ulster champions, sparked huge debate.

Responding to some of those criticisms from the press, the Tyrone camp highlighted the fact - according to their statistics - that the Red Hands have been "fouled 280 times in League (156) and Championship (124) football this year".

"Tyrone have fouled the opposition 256 times in League (144) and Championship (124) football this year. Tyrone have been 10% more-fouled-than-they-foul so far in 2013," the statement added.

Brolly was hugely critical of Cavanagh for blatantly hauling down McManus at the time.

But Tyrone were keen to point out that their star midfielder Cavanagh is the victim of plenty of fouling himself, suggesting that he has "shipped one foul in every six made by opposing teams on Tyrone this year".

They also highlighted that they were the only county to speak against the soon-to-be-introduced 'black card' at the 2013 GAA Congress.

Tyrone GAA claim that chairman Ciaran MacLochlainn argued that the black card system is "not well thought out" and it will "lead to chaos".

"Crucially, the proper response to the 'cynical fouls' that have been shown and shown on the DVD that the motion proposers have been facilitated to use to support their case is a straight red card," insisted MacLochlainn.

In a number of interviews since his live TV outburst following the Tyrone-Monaghan tie, Brolly even suggested that such cynical play was being coached in Tyrone and even at underage level.

"They have been systematically coaching it...how to hold them down, when to hold them down, how to disrupt momentum," alleged Brolly.

"It is no secret that it is being coached in Tyrone. There are other teams doing it as well. This is bigger than Mickey Harte and Sean Cavanagh, but they are big guys and are well capable of defending themselves.

"I can see it at underage level. We can see it when we go to tournaments. It is damaging the fabric of the game and it is damaging relationships."

The former Derry forward seemed to add fuel to the fire by tweeting a photo of his St. Brigid's U-14 players 'rugby tackling' each other at training. "Coaching the tackle at U-14 training," he dubbed the picture.

In their statement, the Tyrone camp dismissed Brolly's accusations by saying they "do not condone, let alone coach, fouling in any way, shape or form".

They also pointed to their history of 'non-competitive' football at U-12 level and how some of their ideas for coaching children have been adopted by the GAA on a national scale.

The statement continued: "Tyrone made its U-12 football 'non-competitive' 30 years ago, long before the 'Go Games' model was devised and implemented, precisely so that a 'winning is everything' culture would not be a part of children's Gaelic games in the county.

"Tyrone has been rolling out highly successful, structured GAA Summer Camps for 20 years.

"The camps show children how to play and how to behave. We believe the national GAA Cúl Camps model is largely based on ours."

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