Ciarán Whelan on...

His approach as a pundit:

Ciarán Whelan on...

“RTÉ traditionally have had space for maybe someone who is more sensationalist like a Joe [Brolly] and a Pat [Spillane]. But I think there’s also a space for analysis of the game and what people want to see is how the game was won or lost. I’m not interested in going in there and having my name at the back of papers. If you have to be critical, you have to be critical but you have to be respectful as well.”

The black card:

“Something that gets under my skin is this idea that on The Sunday Game it’s all so positive about hurling and football is so negative. You strive to be positive every week. I remember coming back from Croke Park when Mayo played Kerry in the drawn game last year and we were buzzing because it was this brilliant game with so much to be positive about. But this black card is a disaster. I’m fed up talking about it. Every game we’re having to look at a black card decision and question referees. It’s not working. The main problems in our game are around cynicism in the last 10-15 minutes. I’ve said it before: there should be a red zone from the 60th minute on, that if you commit a cynical foul like say Shane Enright last Sunday, it’s an automatic 13-metre free and you’re conceding a score.”

The need for a TMO:

“For some reason in the GAA we won’t copy other sports. We’re crying out for the TMO. Where say both teams can have two or three calls to object and a fourth official reviews it. Now, the fourth official might still not be able to make up his mind like we had with the [Padraig] McNulty penalty call last Sunday, but 99 times out of a 100, it would make it fairer and better all round.”

Dublin’s perceived resources:

“It’s thrown out there that Dublin have all this money. Dublin still have no Centre of Excellence. We’re still looking around for gear in the back of our cars and having to beg, steal and borrow pitches to train our U17 development team. There are a lot of former players back helping in the system but that’s a matter of leadership and organisation, not money. Kilkenny hurling have only two full-time coaches. And in Dublin it’s forgotten with the Game Promotion Officers the clubs pay half their wages. So core embers are on the ground running fundraisers to fund coaching. Shane Curran is moaning about Croke Park not funding A, B and C but it’s up to the respective counties to get their house in order to ensure they have coaches in place.”

Balancing a career:

“Inter-county football is ruthless. Ruthless. When you’re off that panel no one gives a flying fuck. We’ve all been there at 23, 24 and the manager or whoever else is putting the arm around you and saying you’re the best thing and we need you to do this. You can be very easily influenced and neglect your career. Then you get a cruciate injury. I was cognisant of that and had employers that were into their GAA and gave me flexibility and support.”

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