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07th Apr 2022

“It was his reputation that was taking the hit” – Darren Hughes recalls infamous Tiernan McCann ‘hair ruffle’ incident

Lee Costello

“The heat was on him.”

It was a story that filled the back pages for weeks back in 2015 when Monaghan played Tyrone in an All-Ireland quarter final, and Darren Hughes received a red card.

This red card wasn’t awarded because of a melee, or violent behaviour however, Hughes had ruffled the hair of Tyrone’s Tiernan McCann, and the half-back fell with an added touch of theatre.

Although common place in the Premier League and the world of soccer, simulation or ‘diving’ isn’t something that GAA folk take too kindly to, and it caused a bit of a stir in the media.

Speaking to BBC Sport NI, Hughes recalls the infamous incident.

“Me and Richie Donnelly clashed heads a couple of minutes before. I definitely wasn’t thinking clearly. When you see me coming off, there is blood coming down the back of my neck.”

However, Hughes admitted that he does recall the “look of sheer disappointment” on the face of then Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke as he made his way off the pitch following his red carding.

“I’ll never forget the look he gave me that I’d let the team down. In the dressing-room afterwards and you switch the phone on and it’s hopping.

“What I did and what I meant to do were probably two different things. Once I saw the video I was thinking ‘at least Malachy mightn’t be that disappointed in me now’.

“Obviously I got off with it afterwards. Tiernan was getting all the flak. It did annoy me that I got sent off but I was the victim at the end up.

“I did hear that he had got my number…..the heat was on him.

“I wouldn’t talk to him now. I don’t know him. I have loads of friends on the Tyrone panel and they know what I think about what happened.”

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