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President O'Neill blasts misrepresentation of 'boring' quote

NEW GAA president Liam O'Neill has responded to criticism of his recent "boring" remark about Gaelic football by launching a vigorous defence of his commitment to the game.

"I'm on record before as saying Gaelic football is a great game," the Laois man declared. "It's a very skilful game and it's a game that needs to be nurtured.

"Despite the fact that a different interpretation was put on what I said a fortnight ago, my attitude to football has always been positive.

"My only comment on football was that when it's (hand) passed around, when it's defensive, that's boring."

O'Neill was commenting on the weekend that he appointed veteran football columnist Eugene McGee - the Longford man who famously managed Offaly to All-Ireland victory over Kerry in 1982 - to chair his new Football Review Group.

The president's previous comments about football, on his inauguration weekend, were criticised by Tyrone boss Mickey Harte last week but O'Neill has now declared: "You can judge for yourselves firstly whether they were reported accurately or not. Some people have said I said it in my speech.

"My speech is on the web and I certainly did not. I responded to a question and said that one aspect of Gaelic football was boring.

"Hasn't it been amazing how that story has been treated since? It's been an eye-opener for me. But it still won't deter me, we still have planned this committee (chaired by McGee) before Congress and we intend on carrying it through and I intend on making my contribution to making a wonderful game even better."

O'Neill said he wants his Football Review Group to "look at football independently, and we've picked a hugely independent and widely respected figure in Eugene McGee to do that".

In another eye-catching appointment, recently retired top whistler Pat McEnaney of Monaghan will chair the National Referees' Committee. O'Neill has named former Munster Council secretary Simon Moroney (Clare) as chairman of the Central Competitions Control Committee; Cavan's Garrett O'Reilly will chair the Central Hearings Committee; while former CHC chairman Liam Keane (Meath) will now head up the Central Appeals Committee.

COMMITTEE CHAIRMEN 2012-2015 - CCCC: Simon Moroney; CHC: Garrett O'Reilly; CAC: Liam Keane; DRA: Matt Shaw; Football Review: Eugene McGee; Hurling Development: Tommy Lanigan; Games Development: Michael Martin; National Referees: Pat McEnaney; Central Referees Appointments: Seamus Woods; Research: Pádraig Ó Céide; Medical, Scientific and Welfare: Ger Ryan; National Fixtures Planning: Paul Kinsella; Rules Advisory: Frank Murphy.