Tuesday 11 December 2018

'Sooner or later, GAA people are going to say 'f*** this'' - Joe Brolly gives his verdict on Kildare controversy

Joe Brolly says the treatment of Kildare by the GAA has been a 'disgrace'.
Joe Brolly says the treatment of Kildare by the GAA has been a 'disgrace'.
Will Slattery

Will Slattery

Joe Brolly has slammed the GAA over its handling of the Kildare venue controversy, saying that the association is increasingly becoming the 'enemy' of the supporters.

A standoff has broken out between Kildare and the GAA over the choice of venue for their third round qualifier tie with Mayo this Saturday, with the game fixed for Croke Park as part of a double header despite the Lilywhites getting home advantage in the draw.

The GAA have said that health and safety concerns surrounding the capacity of St Conleth's Park prompted the move, which has received widespread criticism, with Kildare announcing that they won't fulfill the fixture unless it takes place in Newbridge.

Speaking to Independent.ie, Joe Brolly said that the GAA doesn't have a legal case to move the game to Croke Park, and that the treatment of Kildare has been a 'disgrace'.

"The GAA are acting outside the law of the GAA," Brolly said.

"It's clear that until it's round four of the qualifiers, that the first name out of the hat has a home draw and there's no caveat on that. It doesn't say, well if the capacity is more or less than a certain number. So Kildare are entitled by a matter of right, and a matter of law."

Read more: 'They have backed themselves into a corner' - Ex-Mayo manager not a fan of Kildare's negotiation strategy

"For the GAA people of Kildare to have been dealt with like that is a disgrace," he added.

"This has become a PR disaster. I have not seen a reaction on social media like this ever. Gaels all over the country are saying, enough is enough. Kildare being treated like this is a step too far."

The venue issue has already generated a massive reaction, and Brolly thinks that the GAA's decision has mobilised a large section of fans, who he says have become dissatisfied with the direction that the governing body has been moving in.

"I've been saying for a long time that sooner or later, there's going to be a point where GAA people are going to say, 'f*** this'," Brolly said.

"This is the last straw. Making a few pounds is all very well but there comes a point where you have got to look to the greater good of the GAA family. I think this might well be that point. The GAA needs to be very, very careful.

"On what conceivable basis could this game become a doubler header at Croke Park? There is no basis for it. You can see how it works - it's better for Sky, it's better for the GAA, they get more revenue at Croke Park and therefore, f*** Kildare. I can't remember the last time GAA people have been so up in arms."

Brolly also had criticism for the new Director General Tom Ryan, who has yet to comment publicly on the matter. The Sunday Independent columnist says that if he was in the top job, he would have handled the situation altogether differently.

"This absolutely typifies the direction the GAA is taking," Brolly said.

"We have a Director General who is the invisible man. He doesn's say anything. He doesn't lead. I feared very much that he was a bureaucrat who would simply continue to move down the path of elitism and commercialism. That was all the evidence of his past. It is extraordinary that the Director General would remain silent on an issue such as this."

"If I was the Director General of the GAA, this would never have happened," Brolly added.

"I'd say: 'We've got this wrong. I've intervened and Kildare have the home draw here'. That would be a very smart move in terms of bringing people on board with the new Director General.

"This typifies the disconnect. Increasingly, Croke Park is seen as the enemy of the GAA family."

Subscribe to The Throw-In, Independent.ie's weekly Championship podcast, for the best in GAA discussion and analysis every Monday, with some of the biggest names in football and hurling from Joe Brolly, Tomás Ó'Sé, Brendan Cummins and John Mullane.

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