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GAA draw first blood of season in Pat spat

The viewers didn't have to wait too long for Pat Spillane to draw the ire of the Gaelic Athletic Association authorities on The Sunday Game Live. He got that out of the way on afternoon one.

Spillane's allegation that the GAA had introduced a new rule to the various county managers on Friday, two days before Kerry's eclipse of Tipperary in the Munster senior football quarter-final at Semple Stadium yesterday, was wrong.

But not by long.

Presenter Michael Lyster applied a slap to the wrist of the Kerryman: "The GAA have been in contact. You made the point that you thought that the teams were not contacted until Friday about these new rules.

"The GAA say that is not actually the case."

"Normally, I don't have to make my first 'mea culpa' on the programme until week two," said Spillane.

"I was incorrect. I was led to believe the managers were only informed on Friday. Seemingly, they were informed earlier in the week."

In fact, Kerry coach Jack O'Connor later revealed he found out about the new rules a week and a half before his first championship match. Our friend Pat was wrong not once, but twice.

This didn't deter him: "What I can't understand is that the first round of the championship between Galway and New York was played under different rules."


It is the introduction of new rules designed, it would seem, to emasculate the game that rightly irritated and antagonised the panel of analysts.

There was evidence of this in Wicklow's win over Carlow where there were 16 yellow cards and three red cards in what was deemed "a good game of football" by the ageless Mick O'Dwyer from O'Moore Park.

"The game is being neutered. There is no doubt about that, in comparison to hurling where there is still the blood and thunder that is the essence of championship," piped Joe Brolly.

"The whole point about championship is that it is war. People go out and they put themselves on the line -- man-to-man. The winds of political correctness are absolutely sweeping through Gaelic football and they are starting to destroy it."