Friday 19 January 2018

'I hope that lessons have been learned' - Jim Gavin ends one-to-one interview boycott but stands by Connolly stance

12 July 2017; Dublin manager Jim Gavin speaking during a press conference at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
12 July 2017; Dublin manager Jim Gavin speaking during a press conference at the Gibson Hotel in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile
Frank Roche

Frank Roche

JIM GAVIN has stood by his trenchant criticism of The Sunday Game and Sky Sports – but he has ended his one-to-one interview boycott with the broadcast media.

"All I can say on that really is that I hope that the lessons have been learned," the Dublin manager said at a Leinster final press conference today.

"And from my part, if I believe that a player is being disrespected and that Croke Park don't step in and protect the player and his good name, I've no option but to react as I did the last day."

Gavin reignited the flickering controversy over Diarmuid Connolly's 12-week suspension in the immediate wake of Dublin's semi-final rout of Westmeath. 

On that occasion, RTÉ and other broadcasters weren't afforded their usual post-match interview opportunities. Instead, they had to sit in on the main media conference where Gavin condemned "the bile and the malevolent attitude that certain broadcasters went after him (Connolly) with."

But the Dubs boss was in more conciliatory mood at an early-morning Gibson Hotel briefing ahead of Sunday's Croke Park showdown with Kildare.

"We facilitated everybody on the day," he clarified regarding Dublin's semi-final stance. "And, as I said, we'll move on and hopefully those lessons have been learned by them." 

Nor did he dispute the right of TV pundits to dissect various flashpoints ahead of any disciplinary review by the CCCC – but rather how they go about it.

"Absolutely, there has to be a debate. There'll be debates and great discussion coming into the game and after the game by supporters. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and to express that freely but, as I said at the time, it's not absolute," Gavin maintained.

"If I feel that a player's good name is being disrespected … unlike other sports, inter-county players have to go out on a Monday morning and seek out a living. If their name has been damaged by that, I just feel that that's above and beyond what Gaelic games is about." 

Asked if there have been other such incidents in the past, Gavin said he was sure it had happened but this was "outside by focus and loyalty" to Dublin GAA and its players.

And, on the subject of whether he had engaged with RTÉ since this dispute arose, he said: "I don't think it was necessary. It is what it is. I stated the facts as I saw them, and hopefully the lessons have been learned." 

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