Is Ryan McHugh now a better player than Martin?

THE SPORTING DIARY with Sport Ed Peter Campbell

Is Ryan McHugh now a better player than Martin?

Is Ryan McHugh better than Martin?

This is a question that came into my head after watching a re-run of Saturday night’s Allianz National Football League game between Donegal and Tyrone around 11 p.m. when I got home after the game.

The player ratings should not be done until one has had time to get a second look at any game. On the way home I was clear in my head that Ryan McHugh was the man of the match, but after watching the re-run, it was almost a complete performance and probably deserved a 9 rather than an 8.

Then there is the question of the comparison with his father, something that we all like to do with players from different eras. I suppose for a start, they are different types of players; Martin was an out-and-out attacker who could get a score from anywhere. Ryan probably has more pace (although Martin wasn’t slow) and is probably better with his weaker foot.

I put the question to two people (who shall remain anonymous) on Sunday as to whether Ryan was now as good as his father - one from Kilcar and one from Ballyshannon. Both hesitated, but seemed to be leaning towards Martin still having the edge.

It’s an amazing statistic that the three McHughs - Ryan, Mark and father Martin - all won their first All-Star at 22 years of age. Martin went on to add another nine years later.

One feels that Ryan will not have to wait that long for his second!

Bad weekend for referees

The need for GAA referees to have back-up like rugby officials was very much in the spotlight at the weekend - and in two games in particular. Two of the top referees in the country - Maurice Deegan and David Coldrick - had poor outings.

On St. Patrick’s Day in Croke Park, Maurice Deegan allowed Dr. Crokes foul at will against Slaughtneil with little or no consequence. Chrissy McKaigue was hauled down at every opportunity and the Killarney club were determined to do their fouling in the Derry side’s half. If that had been a rugby match, there would have been a warning after three fouls and someone in the bin after the fourth.

While it was great to see a talent such as Colm Cooper win an All-Ireland club title, Slaughtneil were not given a level playing field by the officials. Dr. Crokes may have won the game anyway as they probably had the better forwards, but they should not have been allowed to be so cynical when Slaughtneil had the ball.

Then on to Saturday night in MacCumhaill Park and David Coldrick and his six assistants allowed Justin McMahon to again pull and drag at Michael Murphy off the ball for some 40 minutes. He had no interest in the ball. Once McMahon was shown a yellow card, he was removed from the field by his own management.

Picture that alongside Paddy McGrath and Peter Harte coming together and ending up on the ground some ten minutes later and McGrath is black carded. I’m not saying that McGrath was not dealt with correctly; I didn’t see the start of the incident. But what I’m saying is Justin McMahon was clearly offending against Murphy and should have been issued a black card early in the first half.

If that had happened then much of the messing that went on in the second half would have been avoided. If you’ll pardon the pun, it was a black mark against the referee, David Coldrick. Even when the shemozzle got up in the second half, it took the Meath official an eternity to deal with it.

Even when order was restored and Coldrick threw up the ball, McMahon caught Michael Murphy and hauled him onto his back in front of the referee and he took no action.

Also you would wonder at times what linesmen are thinking at these games. They are in the perfect position to ‘help’ the referee, with whom they are in radio contact. Do they not see what is going on?

Methinks they need Jimmy White giving lessons to the national referees on how to deal with things quickly. Because once you allow things to boil over, you are on a loser. You have to flash the cards and get play under way again.

Not a good day at the office for either of these referees.

Black week for Derry

Just a year after the Buncrana drowning tragedy, it has been a black week for Derry with the sudden death of Derry City captain, Ryan McBride, followed by Martin McGuinness. McBride was an inspirational captain of a side that were challenging for honours, while McGuinness was a familiar figure at sporting events in Ulster and beyond.

Sympathy is extended to both families.