The national broadcaster is satisfied it has given the Sligo manager the right to reply in the wake of Eamonn O’Hara’s criticism of him. O’Hara also claimed Walsh delayed taking the Sligo role for another year as he was holding out for the Roscommon position, an allegation that borders on defamation.
Walsh took the opportunity on Wednesday to launch a scathing attack on the programme. He said: “I felt it was very unbalanced in its presentation of the issues that did arise from Sligo in the London game.
“I felt The Sunday Game itself failed to comply with the obligations that are on RTÉ as a public service broadcasting company to adhere to the highest standards of balance in broadcasting.
“On top of that, there were certain allegations made that have no basis in fact. In fact, they were allowed to be made without challenge or debate.”
An RTÉ statement released to the Irish Examiner read: “Eamonn O’Hara is an analyst on The Sunday Game and offered his opinion on last Sunday’s programme as such.
“Kevin Walsh has had the opportunity to respond to these remarks in an interview on RTÉ News last night. We are all now looking ahead to another action packed weekend of GAA championship coverage with RTÉ showing three live games”
In a local newspaper three days ago, O’Hara has stood by his comments about Walsh, although he has not yet proven Walsh was interested in the Roscommon job.
On Twitter yesterday, fellow pundit Colm Parkinson put it to him: “So @eamonnohara8 what is it, are you a bitter man out for revenge, were you just telling the truth or are u trying to b like @JoeBrolly1993.”
As of last night, he had not replied.
Kudos first to RTÉ for carrying Kevin Walsh’s damning line about The Sunday Game on 2FM’s Game On programme and their website.
It mightn’t have made itself into the RTÉ Six One version for some unknown reason but it didn’t go without mentioning: “I felt The Sunday Game itself failed to comply with the obligations that are on RTÉ as a public service broadcasting company to adhere to the highest standards of balance in broadcasting.”
It might be argued that allowing broadcasting of that line was tantamount to the national broadcasters turning the knife on themselves but did the blade go deep enough?
By allowing such an unbridled broadside to be televised live to hundreds of thousands of viewers as if it were fact in the first place was negligent.
Eamonn O’Hara’s comments were TV gold but they should never have gone unchecked. The claim about Walsh seeking the Roscommon job was defamatory and yet it was ignored.
A Devil’s advocate on the issue was the least that was required but none was forthcoming. Providing O’Hara the avenue to rant may have seemed like a good thing at the time but it should have been countered.
Walsh appearing on RTÉ to give out about RTÉ was unusual in the sense that it was they who he felt were partly responsible for the issue.
But then it probably was going to work for him in the sense that it would offer him a similar if not identical amount of exposure as O’Hara’s diatribe.
It worked for RTÉ in the sense it was a story as much as it probably went some way to saving their bacon.
Considering the attack on Walsh was the second on an inter-county football manager in as many weeks, it was perhaps in the best interests that RTÉ sought a good cop to the bad one that turned up on Walsh’s door last Sunday.
With Mickey Harte continuing to boycott them and Paul Grimley on the verge of doing so, the last thing they wanted, as media partners of the GAA, was another manager saying no to them. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on how the pundits discuss managers this weekend. Davy Fitzgerald, who is on the SempleStadium sideline this Sunday, was ridiculously spotlighted last year for his colourful language in a game.
Nobody in the media wants censuring or even sanitising for that matter but there have to be parameters, one we in print have overstepped on occasions and duly acknowledged.
Maybe Walsh was satisfied with the right to reply. Maybe it’s O’Hara who he feels should be the one apologising.
But The Sunday Game was much more then the messenger. It created a stage providing unrestricted access to influence people. It was open to abuse. For that very reason, it owes Walsh an apology.
Apology? If Kevin Walsh is entitled to an apology from RTÉ, he’ll have to join the back of a winding queue.
At the head of it you’d have to put Cristiano Ronaldo; the puffball, the disgrace, the cod, the self-indulgent idiot, the guy who would never be a player as long as he had a hole in his arse.
In reality, you’d probably need to commission a truth and reconciliation unit in Montrose to process all of the apologies that might be due as a consequence of Eamon Dunphy’s punditry stylings alone.
But, as far as I know, there haven’t yet been any dispensed; not to congenital loser Mick McCarthy, creep Niall Quinn, fat clown Harry Kewell, tramp Rio Ferdinand, dangerous train-driver Steve Staunton, nor lunatic asylum inmate Giovanni Trapattoni.
So Kevin Walsh might have to wait a while until they get around to prostrating themselves before guys accused of not putting on adequate training sessions.
It seems the principle objection to Eamon O’Hara’s strong words on last week’s Sunday Game is his closeness to the Sligo camp.
In other words, it’s all very well casting aspersions on Walsh’s preparations and gameplan from a safe distance, but if there’s a hint that you have relevant local knowledge to back up your stance, you’ve crossed a line.
Get off the fence, but only once you’ve crossed the county bounds.
Nonsense. Of course there was the whiff of a grudge in the air Sunday night, but the popular clamour in all walks of punditry life has been for guys with clear views freshened by recent exposure to action. A step away from reliance on practised old polemics from the likes of Dunphy, Hansen, Spillane and Hook.
Gary Neville is the standout example and Sky now hope to make Jamie Carragher sufficiently understood to repeat the trick, while Shane Horgan has injected some dressing-room knowledge into RTÉ’s rugby pantomime.
I don’t recall any storm of outrage last season when Neville criticised former team-mate David de Gea for his error at Tottenham.
If O’Hara was going to stick with London-Were-Going-To-Catch-Someone blandness, he’d soon regret investing in that wardrobe of suits, because he wouldn’t be on our screens this summer much longer than his old teammates.
In any case, we must never, ever make the mistake of taking any of this too seriously, even in these times of creeping solemnity that saw Paul Grimley beg for forgiveness after the defeat by Cavan.
Ultimately, it’s only punditry. Part education, 10 parts theatre.
There is no right of reply, except on the pitch the next day — even though Walsh has already been afforded his in a fireside chat with Marty Morrissey.
And that, surely, is enough.
It’s more than Ronaldo ever enjoyed anyway.