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Mickey Harte vs RTÉ, bizarre All Star team and Mayo ladies row - Pat Spillane's 2018 football lowlights

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21 July 2018; Tyrone manager Mickey Harte before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final Group 2 Phase 2 match between Tyrone and Dublin at Healy Park in Omagh, Tyrone. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

21 July 2018; Tyrone manager Mickey Harte before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final Group 2 Phase 2 match between Tyrone and Dublin at Healy Park in Omagh, Tyrone. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

21 July 2018; Tyrone manager Mickey Harte before the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Quarter-Final Group 2 Phase 2 match between Tyrone and Dublin at Healy Park in Omagh, Tyrone. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

As another football year comes to a close, Pat Spillane gives his lowlights from the 12 months of 2018.

FOOTBALL STANDARDS

The quality of football on offer was mostly dreadful. The number of hand passes is increasing on average by 100 per season, while the number of foot passes is dropping by 15 per cent. What we’re witnessing is a bastardised version of Gaelic football.

THE OVERRUN ON THE PAIRC UI CHAOIMH REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT

There is credible evidence that the overrun could be as high at €23m. Firstly we need to know how and why this happened. The sorry tale reinforces the argument that in a small country like Ireland, we need to build municipal stadia to cater for a variety of sports, rather than stand-alone single sports venues.

AN UNCOMPETITIVE CHAMPIONSHIP

Just look at these statistics: Dublin’s average winning margin in Leinster was 20 points, while Kerry won their games in Munster by an average of 19. In the overall series Dublin’s average victory margin was 12 points, while in 28 of the 68 games played, the winning margin was 10 points or more.

MICKEY HARTE v RTE

Mickey Harte’s refusal to engage with RTE ahead of the All-Ireland final reflected badly on all involved in the GAA in the county. Croke Park must take charge of this issue.

THE MAYO LADIES GAA MANAGER ROW

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This field is required

At a time when everybody involved in women’s GAA is so positive, this row was particularly unseemly and didn’t reflect well on the county’s top club Carnacon or the county’s star player Cora Staunton.

THE ALL-STAR FOOTBALL TEAM

When Colm Cavanagh is selected at full back – a position he never played in – it makes a mockery of the entire process.

FIXTURES PLANNING

In theory, it is a great idea to designate April as club only month. The reality was different.

Half the counties didn’t bother to schedule any club championship matches and the majority of county managers, with the notable exception of Jim Gavin, simply ignored the recommendation.

INTER-COUNTY TRAINING REGIMES

This is akin to an out-of-control express train which will inevitably crash one day. Will nobody shout stop? Galway is the latest example of the madness. They spend €1.8m on team expenses despite underlying financial woes.

NO HOME ADVANTAGE FOR WICKLOW AGAINST DUBLIN IN LEINSTER SFC

The Leinster Council will only allow Dublin play in four ‘outside’ venues in the province. Aughrim isn’t one of them and so they could not host the Dubs this year.

THE SUPER 8s

The Round 1 series of games in Croke Park were a disaster: small crowds, bad weather and poor football. It was a bad start and the series never fully recovered.

VIOLENCE ON THE FIELD

We had a catalogue of incidents all over the country in club games in the autumn. The GAA needs to send out a message. For starters, anybody who crosses the white line and assaults a player must b e suspended for at least a year.

THE LIAM MILLER TESTIMONIAL

Granted, the GAA were bounced into the row and ultimately credit must be given to President John Horan and Director general Tom Ryan for helping to sort it out. But the affair, together with the Newbridge debacle, emphasised the need for Croke Park to be more proactive – and sort out any such issues before they turn into major controversies.


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