Malachy O’Rourke: Darren Hughes red a big blow

Malachy O’Rourke admitted he’d be disappointed if Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann feigned injury to get Darren Hughes dismissed.

Monaghan were four points back and chasing the game vigorously when Hughes was shown a straight red card for a bizarre ruffle of McCann’s hair.

Hard-running McCann hit the deck in the dramatic fashion and Monaghan, who lost Paul Finlay soon after, were unable to reel in Tyrone in the remaining seven minutes.

GAA disciplinary chiefs may yet rescind Hughes’ red card completely.

Monaghan manager O’Rourke said he’d be unhappy if it proves McCann deliberately dived.

“I honestly don’t know what he went down for,” said O’Rourke. “That would be disappointing if that (feigning injury) happened because Darren was one of the men at that stage who had the power about him to create gaps for other people or to go through himself. There was still five, six, seven minutes left at that stage and four points in it so it was a big blow to lose him then, though I didn’t honestly know what it was for.”

Even a red card reversal won’t overturn the end result though as Monaghan crashed out of the Championship.

It’s the third year running Monaghan have exited at the All-Ireland quarter-final stage, though this is the most disappointing yet, after their impressive Ulster title win.

“It’s bitterly disappointing because we’re all the time trying to be better and to improve ourselves,” said O’Rourke. “We’re trying to move on against the better teams and test ourselves.

“Tyrone are one of them, one of the top teams, and we knew it was going to be a battle. But we were still confident, we still felt we could win the game. We probably feel we didn’t play the way we could, certainly in the first half, we were a bit better in the second half but overall we didn’t have enough people playing well enough to win the game. That’s probably the most disappointing aspect.”

O’Rourke indicated he will remain in charge and called on senior players like Vinny Corey, Dick Clerkin, Dessie Mone and Paul Finlay not to make any rash decisions about their futures.

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