Oak Leaf chiefs slam Brolly comments

THE Derry County Board has branded comments made by Joe Brolly about an U21 footballer as “harmful and unmerited”.

Oak Leaf chiefs slam Brolly comments

Although the statement released through Oak Leaf PRO Sean Gunning doesn’t name the controversial RTÉ pundit, it relates to a column written by the former All Star, which was published last week.

In the column, Brolly criticised 20-year-old full-back Carlus McWilliams, who missed his county’s Ulster U21 championship semi-final defeat to Donegal because of Irish dancing commitments.

“Our full-back – and you will agree that against Donegal, the full-back has a significant role – went instead to an Irish dancing Feis in Dublin,” said Brolly last Friday.

“Let me go over that again, now that you’re getting back onto your chair. Steady yourself. Take a deep breath. Now another one. Ready? Derry’s full-back – instead of playing for his county in the U-21 semi final – went to Irish dancing in Dublin.

“Not that I don’t love Irish dancing, but when I think of it, I think of Graham Norton’s priest dancing furiously in the caravan in Father Ted: “Is that Seaneen Reilly going out to the disco for some heroin? Sure they’re all mad here Ted”, read Brolly’s column.

It led the county for which he played with such distinction to yesterday issue a 400-word statement condemning his criticism of the Ballinascreen star.

“Coiste Chontae Dhoire wishes to distant itself from the potentially harmful and unmerited comments made by a columnist in a GAA newspaper last weekend,” read the statement. “We believe matters of unavailability for matches due to other commitments are issues between a manager and player and should not be fodder for inspection or cheap mockery on the public domain. When original football fixtures were released there were no clashes of dates and the individual was able to pursue both codes.

“It was only when the planned Ulster football semi-final was postponed (due to adverse weather) and the game rescheduled, that a clash of dates became evident, forcing the player to make a most difficult choice. It is worth noting too that immediately the conflict was identified the player notified the manager, and the county board, who in turn fought tirelessly to overcome this hurdle, but were met with intransigence from Comhairle Uladh.

“Coiste Chontae Dhoire would prefer authors filled their column inches commending the leadership of the full back on not only the semi-final game but also the full-back in the preliminary and quarter-final clashes, for his county,” said the Oak Leaf county board.

Meanwhile Cork dual star Eoin Cadogan is convinced he can make a speedy recovery from the stress fracture which rules him out of both National League finals.

The Douglas man is now battling to be fit for the county’s Munster championship ties with the hurlers facing Tipperary on May 30 and the footballers out a week later against either Kerry or Tipperary.

“I’m devastated to pick up this leg injury at this time of the year,” Cadogan said. “Rest is the immediate cure for the injury, but I will be undergoing an intensive program of physio and swimming as soon as I am allowed. I hope to be back after eight weeks.”

Meanwhile Cork officials wouldn’t be backing Galway’s objection to the proposed 7pm start to the Allianz NHL Division One decider on May 2. Officials in the Connacht county have written to Croke Park requesting that the game to be played on the Bank Holiday but Cork PRO Ger Lane last night vowed that ‘we will abide by the decision set down by Croke Park and as far as we are concerned it is going to go ahead at 7pm.”

GAA sources insisted last night there will be no change in time or date for the game.

Wing-back Adrian Cullinane returns to the Galway team on Sunday having been out of action since suffering a cruciate knee injury in the championship win over Clare last summer.

The Craughwell clubman comes into a completely different starting 15 from that which defeated Dublin as time out as they take on Cork on Sunday in a dress rehearsal for the league final.

Six Portumna players – Eugene McEntee, Ollie Canning, Eoin Lynch, Kevin Hayes, Andy Smith and Niall Hayes – will start on Sunday at Pearse Stadium.

And also drafted in for a first league start this year will be Mullagh’s Finian Coone who skippered NUIG to Fitzgibbon Cup glory last month.

GALWAY SH v Cork): J Skehill; P Holland, E McEntee, O Canning; J Lee, C Dervan, A Cullinane; E Lynch, N Cahalan; A Callanan, K Hayes, A Smith; N Hayes, F Coone, N Healy.

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