Wednesday 23 January 2019

The Sunday Game 'consistent in its negativity', blasts GAA president

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail speaking at the launch of the Super Games Centre Research Results in Croke Park
GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail speaking at the launch of the Super Games Centre Research Results in Croke Park
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

GAA president Aogan O Fearghail has hit out at 'The Sunday Game' analysis, branding it "consistent in its negativity".

And the Cavan official also revealed he understands why some Tyrone supporters might feel "a little aggrieved" over the criticism they have shipped in recent times.

In a wide-ranging interview to mark the launch of a new GAA initiative aimed at tackling youth sport drop out, O Fearghail took aim at the show, calling its coverage "tiresome", making particular reference to the commentary that surrounded Tyrone's win over Monaghan in the All-Ireland quarter-final.

"I think some of the Sunday Game commentary is unfair but at this stage it's predictable and, in fairness, it's consistent in its negativity. So it's fairly predictable," O Fearghail said.

"It's tiresome, I find, when people talk about smells or nastiness or anything like that. I just find that unhelpful in our sport.

"I like analysis where people say something (is) wrong and where they point out that something could be improved - there's nothing wrong with that but using that type of language is not something I like, no."

And O Fearghail hinted that the relationship between RTE and the GAA has been damaged enough that they could raise their complaint when the TV rights deals come up for discussion next year.

"It might be. It could be an issue, yeah, I don't know," said the Cavan man.

"I think that a lot of our members are saying to me that they are unhappy with certain comments that are made and, look, some of it is fine and you have to have accept that. . . administrators, players, they do things wrong and we get things wrong and if it's commented upon we have to accept that.

"But when you use language like. . . I don't like adjectives that are hurtful to people."

Tyrone were under the spotlight last week with Tiernan McCann's 'diving' case going before the Central Hearings Committee.

Mickey Harte voiced his unhappiness with how Tyrone were portrayed in his post-match interview on Sunday, and O Fearghail believes Ulster counties get too much bad press.

"As an Ulsterman, I can understand why Tyrone feel, in general, a little aggrieved because I would share that.

"Tyrone do feel that they get a particularly negative criticism so I would share that but, at the same time, every county has to accept that if their members do something that isn't correct."


"I don't know whether it's. . . a southern media (the criticism comes from). I think one of the greatest critics Tyrone have is very much part of a northern jurisdiction.

"I wouldn't be into where the criticism emanates from. Look, new kids on the block do sometimes get criticism.

"Tyrone were like many Ulster counties that I certainly remember. I've been coming to All-Irelands since 1973 and Ulster counties generally in my memory, just came down and got well beaten.

"I was in dressing-rooms where people would say, 'Well done lads, youse are doing a great job up there, we know how hard it is and keep it up'.

"That was unfortunate but now that they've started to do well, then there's a little bit of an edge to some commentary."

O Fearghail also revealed that while a review of the football championship structures were ongoing, the provincials will remain in place, with any major change likely to come about in the back door.

"We have a lot of proposals in and they are quite varied," he said. "It's getting a sort of a pattern on it but we have quite a few received.

"The big thing is there is no appetite for dismantling or changing the provincial structure.

"That's very clear from all the proposals coming in but there would appear to be a certain view that the qualifiers needs to be looked at."

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport