Wednesday 26 October 2016

GAA chief hits back at RTÉ's 'Taliban' sledging

GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail
GAA President Aogán Ó Fearghail
Joe Brolly

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail has launched an unusually trenchant attack on some of the punditry emanating from The Sunday Game studio in recent years and weeks, writes Frank Roche.

Without naming names, the Cavan man has a thinly veiled pop at former Roscommon goalkeeper Shane Curran, who questioned London's involvement in the Connacht championship during a recent guest appearance on the highlights show.

He even harked back to 2011, when veteran pot-stirrer Pat Spillane said Donegal had "the Taliban of GAA defences" during a tirade about that year's All-Ireland semi-final against Dublin.

Ó Fearghail complained: "When you're disrespectful to people as individuals, you go over the edge. I'm not saying RTÉ, I think anywhere that it happens.

READ MORE: GAA President puts a 'second tier' cup on agenda

"I dealt with it all my life as a teacher in the school playground, that when people are disrespectful to each other, it's nasty. It's wrong.

"I think that there's a tendency, unfortunately, in some commentary to be a little bit disrespectful to individuals and to people who are volunteers and doing their best.

Joe Brolly

"To be nasty and to be abusive and to use language to associate certain counties with the Taliban, that's dangerous - the most dangerous force in the world today are the Taliban. To be associating anyone in Gaelic football with that type of mentality ... that builds and it becomes easy to say anything after that."

Having attended the recent Monaghan/Cavan clash, Ó Fearghail was "amazed at how negative" the evening coverage was, claiming viewers were treated to "loads of hexagons and triangles and honours maths type diagrams ... all it proved to me was the man did honours maths."

He was further annoyed that night after "London were attacked in a disgraceful way as having no right to even be in it - and nobody said anything. Not one panellist disagreed with that opinion."

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