Donegal manager Jim McGuinness gave a stark warning about the dangers becoming increasingly associated with Gaelic games.
McGuinness had just seen his Donegal team overcome Laois, 0-14 to 0-8, in Saturday’s fourth round qualifier at Carrick-on-Shannon with the services of Mark McHugh.
Donegal were forced to start without the All-Star following a heavy hit he received in the 0-13 to 0-7 Ulster final loss against Monaghan in Clones.
“I’m not happy that we have a player with a burst ear drum,” McGuinness said. “I’m not happy that he had a major concussion. I’m not happy that he has a five- centimetre - not millimetre - tear on his quad muscle as a result of the impact.
“ I’m not happy that he spent two nights in hospital. I’m not happy that he has missed a full week off work.
“We’re in a very dangerous position here. I fear that something is going to happen and my biggest fear is a spinal injury or a neck injury.
“Monaghan were the bottom team and we lost the final. That’s not an issue.
“Mark McHugh’s last week was our fourth concussion in three games.
“Four concussions in three games - I imagine Munster or Leinster Rugby wouldn’t have that many. I have never criticised a referee and I’m not criticising a referee now. What I am saying is that there is a duty of care to the players. I would be fearful that our players will end up on the receiving end of something very soon that will cost everybody a lot of pain.
“That’s not something I want to preside over. It’s not worth it if it goes to that point. “
McGuinness saw his team become only the second county in 13 seasons to overcome the six-day turnaround having lost a provincial final and then won a qualifier.
“The best thing that ever happened us was a six-day turnaround,” he said.
“We didn’t 14 days and we didn’t want to be licking our wounds for three weeks.
“We wanted to get back at it. we know what’s in the dressing room. We know what they’ve done over the last couple of years and we just wanted to get back playing football.
“When you lose an Ulster final, you can’t pick and choose when you play and we’re happy enough to take that challenge head on.
“Very early on, we felt that we identified what was wrong last weekend and we set about trying to fix them during the week.
“They take and use information very well. There was no feeling sorry for ourselves, but there was definitely a lot of pain involved. That’s natural when you lose a provincial final.
“The bottom line is that if we won today we’d be back where we would have been, minus the Cup. That’s the reality now and it gives us an opportunity now to get back to Croke Park.