McGuinness avoids any criticism of referee

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness did not wish to comment on the controversial red card for his skipper Michael Murphy, what was seen by many as the major turning point in the game.

Donegal manager Jim McGuinness did not wish to comment on the controversial red card for his skipper Michael Murphy, what was seen by many as the major turning point in the game.

Murphy got his marching orders just before half-time and seconds after being denied from the penalty spot with a brilliant save from Niall Morgan, in the Tyrone goals.

“I did not see the incident where Michael received the second yellow card and that is not trying to avoid the question. I seen the incident but I did not see what happened,” said McGuinness.

“It is just one of those things. Michael is a brilliant player and he is always very disciplined, and it was just one of those things.

“There were a lot of yellow cards handed out in the first half in particular and as long as it was today and not the 26th of May, is all that matters now.”

McGuinness did not wish to be drawn either on the fact that referee Joe McQuillian flashed 12 yellow cards and two reds in total with 9 of the yellows and the two reds to Donegal players, Michael Murphy and Neil Gallagher.

“I don’t normally go into the refereeing and I’m not going to go into it today either. It doesn’t get you anywhere and it is for other people to make the call.

“There was plenty of you here today, you seen the game for yourselves, and you seen what went on in the game and seen what happened and it is not for me to comment.

“My job is to try and get the best out of our lads and it is a matter going home now and preparing for the next game and that is what we will be concentrating on from now.”

The Donegal boss also insisted that he learned a few things about the new look Tyrone and in particular the new players in Mickey Harte’s team.

“It is always good to see players you have not seen before. They are on your radar and you can see what they can do.

“But it was a good day for Tyrone, and a good win for them and a good two points for them and they beat us ahead of the game in Ballybofey.”

And despite the defeat to the Tyrone men the Donegal boss was not too despondent at the outcome either and insisted that it is all about getting everything right for May 26th and the championship meeting with the O’Neill County.

“From our own point of view we knew where we were at before the game and we know where we are at after it.

“We just want to progress and move on week on week during the league and there are still a few things we want to road test in the rest of the league ahead of the championship.

“And then when the league is over we will re-evaluate everything for the 26th of May.”

And while the championship is the main focus for McGuinness and his team he also insisted that Donegal wanted to retain Division One status.

“We are looking at championship but we also want to stay in the division and we came here today to win the game, and if Michael Murphy had scored the penalty and stayed on the field I think we would have probably had a good enough chance of doing that.

“We want to win next weekend (Kerry) and also stay in the division but it is all about the championship and stay true to ourselves and that goal. That’s what we did last year and we were in the same position this time last year and we stayed up and we hope to do the same again this season.”

On the experiment of playing Neil Gallagher at full forward early on McGuinness explained this was something he wanted to try out and that he had plans to try out a few more things in the remaining games in the league.