Tuesday 24 April 2018

'Jim Gavin is having a laugh and Dolan and Brolly tried to throw me under the bus' - Pat Spillane responds

RTÉ analyst Pat Spillane during the 2016 GAA Football / Hurling Championship draw. RTE Studios, Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE
RTÉ analyst Pat Spillane during the 2016 GAA Football / Hurling Championship draw. RTE Studios, Donnybrook, Dublin. Picture credit: Piaras Ó Mídheach / SPORTSFILE

Jack O'Toole

The Sunday Game panelist Pat Spillane has responded to Dublin manager Jim Gavin and fellow RTE pundits Joe Brolly and Dessie Dolan after all three criticised him for his analysis of Diarmuid Connolly's push on linesman Ciaran Brannigan last month.

Gavin launched an impassioned attack on a variety of media outlets after Dublin's 31-point win over Westmeath last weekend, and accused broadcasters RTE and Sky Sports of attacking Connolly's "good name" in the aftermath of the controversial win over Carlow.

Dublin refused to speak individually to host broadcasters RTE after the Westmeath win, with Gavin taking particular umbrage with The Sunday Game and Spillane's analysis of the situation, with the Dublin boss claiming that the Kerry great had read out a pre-determined statement to attack Connolly's name before adding that 'freedom of expression is one of the rights in the Republic but it's not absolute'.

The following evening on The Sunday Game Dolan had said that Spillane's comments were 'a little pointed' while Brolly added that 'Pat had everything on but his Kerry blazer and his Kerry tie', after Spillane had repeatedly outlined that Connolly had 'clearly pushed' Brannigan.

Writing in his column in The Sunday World today, Spillane noted that Jim Gavin 'must be having a laugh' in relation to his comments regarding freedom of expression and that Dolan and Brolly had both tried to 'throw him under the bus'.

"I fail to see how any of my remarks impacted in any way on Connolly's character," wrote Spillane.

"I merely stated that he broke the rules and would suffer the consequences. I did say: 'You prod a bear, you get a reaction. You prod Diarmuid Connolly, you antagonise Diarmuid Connolly and you always get a reaction'.

"I would have thought that comment was merely stating the obvious. As regards to Gavin's comments about freedom of expression and the Irish constitution, all I can say is 'Jim, you must be having a laugh'.

Spillane added that it took him about a day to deal with Gavin's outburst before he was confronted with new criticisms from Dolan and Brolly.

"I had just about digested Gavin's outburst when I tuned in to The Sunday Game just in time to see my 'colleagues' Dessie Dolan and Joe Brolly attempt to push me under the bus.

"According to them, not alone was I responsible for getting Connolly suspended, but I had deliberately set out as a Kerryman to achieve that goal.

"The Sunday Game has always operated on a very simple premise: The panelists offer their views based on what they have seen in front of them.

"Brolly and Dolan broke that golden rule by offering opinions which had absolutely no basis in fact.

"I was particularly taken aback by Dessie's comments. Joe's personalised comments are par for the course at this stage, so I wasn't really surprised by the tone of his remarks.

"As for Des Cahill, while he did try to act as an honest broker, I think it's fair to say that it wasn't one of his better performances.

"I believed at the time and I still do that my comments were balanced; they didn't constitute a personal attack on Connolly and I didn't act in the role of a prosecution barrister. I merely stated the facts."

Online Editors

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