Eoin Kelly made the point that while criticism is expected, those doing the knocking should at least do their homework. The barb was aimed at The Sunday Game’s aforementioned Duignan and Finnerty who’d incorrectly cited the absence of any yellow cards in the previous weekend’s stalemate as evidence of a lack of passion.
The live version of ‘TSG’ has gone down the Giles-Dunphy road, increasingly opting for controversy while overlooking the fact that professional pundits commenting on amateurs is a different kettle of nettles.
Pat Spillane and Joe Brolly almost came to blows on RTÉ in previewing the Tyrone-Derry yawnfest on Sunday afternoon. Ironically they were discussing discipline within the GAA, and the ‘conflict of interest’ surrounding Brolly’s role as an analyst who routinely highlights instances of foul play, and his doubling as an advisor to various players facing disciplinary action, particularly in Ulster.
Spillane said that’s the basic problem nowadays: everyone seems to be looking for the loophole instead of simply holding their hands up and taking their punishment.
But Brolly, a barrister by profession, former Derry star by reputation, lit on the Kerryman, accusing him of ‘complete ignorance’ and misinformed, black and white populism, when there are 32 shades of yellow and red to be considered when individuals’ right to “fairness” is concerned.
Spillane might have opted for the soundbite, as per usual, but his basic argument holds water. The ubiquitous John Mullane accepted his medicine in 2004 when he could possibly have got some level of reprieve on a technicality. As a result he missed an All-Ireland semi-final, which Waterford might well have won had he been available.
Colm O’Rourke was the man in the middle of the spat between Pat and ‘Judge’ Joe and sounded a sensible compromise: re-write the rulebook from scratch. However, he ruined it by proposing that someone with “a legal bent” like Brolly should be central to the process.
Personally, and I wouldn’t be a Spillane fan, I’d prefer the input of a man who was one of the greatest players of all-time and an impeccably fair one to boot. Just because his opinions are a tad over-the-top it shouldn’t overshadow his achievements or appreciation of the finer things in football rather than law.