Philly McMahon to learn fate after Kieran Donaghy incident

Dublin corner back accused of eye gouging during All-Ireland final win over Kerry

Dublin corner back Philip McMahon will know this weekend if he is to face charges arising from an incident with Kerry captain Kieran Donaghy in Sunday's All-Ireland football final.

The controversial incident in which McMahon has been accused of gouging his opponent in the eye was widely aired on RTE’s Sunday Game the night of the match.

The GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee met this week to consider whether McMahon has a case to answer. There is no specific infraction of ‘gouging’ in Gaelic games but the incident could be dealt with under Category III infraction and Rule 5.17, ‘to behave in any way which is dangerous to an opponent.’

The minimum suspension for being found to have committed this infraction is one match, which would be served in next season’s national league. The All-Ireland champions’ first match will be coincidentally against Kerry on 30th January.

If he is to be charged, the player will presumably seek a hearing, as he has spoken openly about the incident and strenuously maintained his innocence of intentionally harming his opponent.

“I don’t have to say how the conditions were on Sunday,” McMahon said to this newspaper on Monday, “and when the ball dropped, I went in to put my hand in. There was no intention to go for his face.

“He [DONAGHY]is a big man to get around, you know? I couldn’t even see where the ball was, the second time I went in. But no, there was no intention there, and I’m sure the officials saw that as well. And look, this is Gaelic football, we get stuck into each other when the whistle is blown and we shake hands after it.

“Yeah, I saw a little bit of it on The Sunday Game and yeah, it probably did look bad. But again there was no intention whatsoever. If you look at it, the ball drops and I put my hand in to try to grab the ball. The ball slipped out of his right side and I tried to go in again with the left hand. That’s what happened.

“And there were loads of incidents on the pitch on Sunday, but it’s unfortunate that mine always gets brought up. But it’s a part of the game and I have to accept it. I’m talking about something that if I did connect with his face, I didn’t intentionally do it. I should be talking about keeping one of the best footballers in decades scoreless.”

That reference is to the excellent defensive display he put up against Kerry's former Footballer of the Year Colm Cooper, who McMahon not alone held scoreless but actually out-scored.

Although Donaghy protested to referee David Coldrick at the time, late in Sunday's final, the Kerry captain said earlier this week on RTE that he was content to draw a line under the incident.

“What happens on the field stays on the field and that’s the way I’ve always played it,” he said. “An All-Ireland final is a one-off game and whatever happens I’d leave it at that. I wouldn’t be carrying anything into next year.”

Meanwhile, it is being reported in Cork's [ITALS]Evening Echo that John Cleary, the county's All-Ireland under-21 winning manager, is back in the frame for the vacant senior football manager's position for which he is now strong favourite.

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times