Stephen Rochford will replace Joe Brolly on RTÉ’s live panel for this Saturday’s All-Ireland SFC replay. The current Donegal coach and selector will join Ciarán Whelan and Pat Spillane, both of whom were on last Sunday week’s live programme.
Brolly was expected to be part of the national broadcaster’s suite of Dublin-Kerry coverage on Saturday but the decision not to renew his role on the live programme will draw attention in the wake of his comments at half-time in the drawn game.
Both Whelan and Brolly questioned the judgement of referee David Gough in sending off Jonny Cooper for fouling David Clifford on a third occasion. Former Dublin midfielder Whelan described the decision as “disgraceful”, while Brolly claimed the Meath match official had been “clearly influenced by the propaganda coming from Kerry”.
The day after the game, Whelan rowed back on his comments: “When you look back on it and look at the replays, as Cooper is going down he does pull Clifford down with him so it’s hard to argue with Gough’s decision.” Speaking on Radio Kerry’s Terrace Talk and commenting on Twitter, Brolly maintained his position until this past weekend when he revealed he had spoken to Gough who explained his decision.
"Paraphrasing Gough, Brolly wrote in his Sunday Independent column: “‘(Clifford) checking an opponent in those circumstances is fine. So, although David plays him, the first foul occurs when Jonny grabs his arm. As you can see, I had no choice.’ Put like that, it is absolutely true. So there you have it. Every day is a school day.”
Brolly said he apologised to Gough for the “propaganda remark” —
I suggested in the heat of the moment that referee David Gough may have been influenced by the propaganda emanating from Kerry in the lead-up to the game. Afterwards, I contacted him to apologise for this. It was wrong of me and unfair on David, who is a man of integrity and honour.
Regarding the penalty call, he admitted Gough was right to award it. “I watched it again after we spoke and Goddamnit, David is right. It is a penalty. Subtle, but clear.”
The RTÉ Saturday Game Live begins at 5pm, an hour before the throw-in and concludes at 8.30pm in the event there is no extra-time. The same schedule for the replay has been allocated by Sky Sports on its Arena channel.
RTÉ’s Saturday Game highlights programme begins at 10pm and finishes at 11.30pm. The hour-long Sunday Game featuring highlights and analysis of the three ladies football finals begins at 9.30pm.
Meanwhile, Liam Kearns is in the running to make a return to Laois. The Tralee man, who stepped down as Tipperary manager in June, was previously in charge of the O’Moore County in 2007 and ’08 and is in the shake-up to replace fellow Kerry native John Sugrue.
Former Sligo and Waterford manager Niall Carew has been linked with the position left by Kearns in the Premier County, although Charlie McGeever, David Power and former Dublin footballer Paul Curran have also been mentioned.
Meanwhile, Tipperary’s 2016 All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Darren Gleeson has been appointed the new Antrim senior hurling manager. The Portroe man was ratified by the county board last night having worked with the group this past season.