Saturday 21 October 2017

'He never does it with any media fanfare' - Joe Brolly reveals Jim Gavin's touching gesture for ill GAA player

25 June 2017; Dublin manager Jim Gavin ahead of the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Westmeath at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
25 June 2017; Dublin manager Jim Gavin ahead of the Leinster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Dublin and Westmeath at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Jack O'Toole

GAA pundit Joe Brolly has revealed a warmer side to Dublin manager Jim Gavin after the Dubs boss was the subject of a media storm after refusing to speak to RTE following Dublin's 31-point win over Westmeath last month.

Gavin and the Dublin squad refused to speak to broadcasters RTE and Sky Sports on the grounds that they felt that suspended forward Diarmuid Connollly's 'good name' had been tarnished by both media organisations following his push on linesman Ciaran Branigan during Dublin's Leinster SFC quarter-final win over Carlow.

Gavin has received widespread criticism ever since and has been accused of trying to create a 'siege mentality' as Dublin attempt to win a third consecutive All-Ireland title.

However, Brolly says that he does not believe that Gavin was using Connolly's treatment as some sort of rallying exercise, but rather that his intentions are a lot more virtuous than most people give him credit for, with the former Derry forward highlighting his relationship with Antrim footballer Anto Finnegan to reveal a side to Gavin that differs from his public perception.

"One of the big things with Jim is that he's clearly a man of honesty and integrity," Brolly said on episode 7 of The Throw-In.

"He means what he says, there's not one inch of Jim that's a player.

"I was trying to figure out why it was he said what he said about Diarmuid Connolly and why he did what he did at that press conference.

"I've heard people saying it was very Machiavellian and that it was designed to circle the wagons and to create a siege mentality, I don't see that with Jim and I never have. I think he genuinely was put out by Diarmuid's situation.

"He's a very genuine man. I'll give you an example. He comes up here and it's never announced and he never does it with any media fanfare but he's very friendly with Anto Finnegan, the Antrim footballer, a good friend of mine who has got motor neurons (disease).

"Jim will appear in Belfast unannounced to see him. He'll come up and he'll do wee bits and pieces for Anto.

"Even after the organ donation documentary that RTE did with me, he rang me and said 'I'd like to come up and do something for you. I'd like to come up and take one of your underage teams for a training session. I mean bloody hell."

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly Championship podcast, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every Monday, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé, Brendan Cummins and John Mullane.

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