Wexford chief hits back at Sunday Game’s ‘shock’ doctrine

Wexford chairman Diarmuid Devereux has slammed The Sunday Game for gross inequality in their analysis of games.

Speaking specifically about Michael Duignan’s criticism of the senior hurlers’ discipline and Eamonn O’Hara’s attack on Sligo manager Kevin Walsh, Devereux claims the programme has become obsessed with providing shock value.

Both the Wexford executive and Liam Dunne’s management had agreed not to speak about Duignan’s comments prior to Saturday’s qualifier over Antrim to avoid distractions ahead of the must-win game.

Duignan had claimed Dublin players were afraid and backing out of tackles at the end of last Saturday week’s Leinster quarter-final replay because of Wexford’s aggressive behaviour.

Devereux was livid at the way Wexford were depicted on the programme.

“This is the youngest senior team we’ve had in years. When pundits start commenting and getting deep on these matters they should realise they are speaking about people in their early 20s. Do they have any idea the amount of trouble and grief they cause piling pressure on these young guys?

“This wasn’t Suarez playing for Liverpool and earning 150 grand a week; these are volunteers and a lot of them are students. If a comment is going to be made on TV I would like to see them do the same as newspaper and offer you a right to reply. Neither Kevin Walsh nor his family nor Wexford GAA had any right to reply on those evenings.”

The drawn game between Wexford and Dublin in Wexford Park the previous weekend was covered by The Sunday Game Live where Loughnane described Dublin as playing “pure constipated hurling”.

Devereux also took offence at the remark.

“The game in Wexford Park was a tough, hard Leinster championship game and the crowd loved it. One person described it as “constipated” on TV. “Puke” is another word that has been used with football.

“Many of these people [making the comments] are teachers and surely it’s reasonable to expect a teacher can find a better adjective than words of that nature.

“Why would they do it? It seems there is a bit of competition with one trying to outdo the other in terms of the shock they can create.

“I don’t know where this behaviour has come from in the last 12 months but it seems to be done for people to turn on the television and see what can shock. That, to me, is alien to the GAA.”

Devereux was also disappointed with O’Hara’s unbridled comments about his former manager Walsh after Sligo’s Connacht quarter-final defeat to London in Ruislip.

As a matter of urgency, Devereux wants the GAA and Gaelic Players’ Association to discuss with RTÉ the need for responsible commentary.

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