Dessie Dolan and Joe Brolly have controversially suggested Pat Spillane was to blame for Dublin forward Diarmuid Connolly’s 12-week suspension, writes Ciara Phelan.
The pair were speaking on last night’s Sunday Game during analysis on the circumstances surrounding the Dublin forwards 12-week ban for placing his hands on linesman Ciaran Brannigan during Dublin’s clash with Carlow earlier this month.
After game and during his analysis on the previous week’s programme Pat Spillane highlighted the incident which Connolly was not penalised for during the game.
"Diarmuid was infuriated at a sideline decision, not giving the ball back. The pictures tell it all. You prod a bear, you get a reaction. You prod Diarmuid Connolly, you antagonise Diarmuid Connolly, and you always get a reaction.
"He put his hands on the linesman, he pushed the linesman back, and a finger pointed in somebody’s face sounds to me like threatening. Bottom line, its Rule 5 - minor physical interference. It carries a penalty of 12 weeks," said Spillane.
Speaking at a post-match conference yesterday Dublin manager Jim Gavin slammed the broadcast media for it’s treatment of Connolly.
"What concerns me is how his good name was attacked. Before we even saw the referee’s report, we have the national broadcaster, both Pat Spillane and Colm O’Rourke, particularly Pat, who had a pre-determined statement. We saw the rulebook being read out against him on Sky Sports."
Reacting to his comments on last nights programme panellists Joe Brolly and Dessie Dolan also defended Connolly and turned on Spillane.
Spillane, who was not on the panel to defend himself, came under fire when Brolly made reference to the Kerry man’s comments.
"He is a big boy and he knows what he said. Of course Diarmuid shouldn’t have touched the official, but at that stage, the officials had not taken any action in relation to it, and it was in the context of Connolly being held in the way that he was.
"You have to say, it was like watching counsel for the prosecution. Pat had everything on but his Kerry blazer and his Kerry tie. I thought to myself after, the CCCC are going to act here," said Brolly.
Presenter Des Cahill then asked Brolly if he was blaming Spillane for Connolly’s suspension.
"It looked to me that Pat was reading out a script - and as soon as I watched it, I thought, they will have to go for him now.
"I think Pat bought into it, but there’s a feeling that it is open season on Diarmuid. I did think it was over the top, I have to say. He is entitled to his opinion, but I strongly disagreed with it," he said.
The chairman of the GAA’s Central Competitions Control Committee (CCCC) has insisted, however, that the comments made by Pat Spillane on The Sunday Game did not influence the ban that was placed on Connolly.
Speaking to RTE Radio this morning George Cartwright said: "The CCCC review all games on a Monday, that have been played on a Sunday or Saturday, and take action if need be, so I would refute that totally."
Needless to say the reaction on Twitter has been swift with GAA fans defending both Spillane and Brolly’s comments.
Joe Brolly is a hypocrite. No problem with over the top attacks on Paul Galvin, Lee Keegan or Sean Cavanagh but not Connolly #SundayGame— Derek Brosnan (@DerekBrosnan) June 26, 2017
— Derek Brosnan (@DerekBrosnan) June 26, 2017
This is very poor from both Dessie & 🌂 - Spillane gave opinion on piece which was totally clear & it's his job to do so. #sundaygame— Shane Curran (@shanetcurran) June 25, 2017
I'm no fan of Pat Spillane, but he's been treated pretty outrageously there. #SundayGame— Kevin Coghlan (@kevin_coghlan) June 25, 2017
Don't think Brolly & Dolan should be discussing Pat Spillane without him being present to defend himself. Bad form from #sundaygame— KO'Brien (@KOBrien00001) June 25, 2017
— Kate Fitz (@katefitzzz) June 25, 2017
We can only imagine, but very much look forward to hearing, what Pat has to say to Joe and Dessie when he sees them next.