Joe Brolly could face RTÉ rap amid GAA fury over Cork V Kerry referee criticism

Gaelic football pundit Joe Brolly could be in more hot water after his comments about referee Pádraig Hughes on Sunday.

Less than six weeks after he apologised to Marty Morrissey for a crass remark and warned by the national broadcasters that further such behaviour would not be tolerated, there is mounting anger at the top level of the GAA about the Derry man’s criticism of the Armagh referee.

Croke Park officials are anticipating RTÉ will take further action against Brolly after he mocked Hughes for awarding Kerry a “terrible, terrible” second half penalty in Sunday’s Munster final against Cork. Describing the decision as an “affront” to Cork, he said of Hughes: “Wee Paudie, he wouldn’t know what a penalty was if it bit him in the a***”.

Presenter Darragh Maloney attempted to rebuff Brolly, saying “Give me a break. He (Hughes) looked at it in an instant. He made a decision.”

Brolly returned: “Well, he was wrong, 100% wrong in every way. No-one thought it was a penalty.”

Brolly’s stinging remarks were still available on RTÉ Player yesterday evening. RTÉ last night refused to comment on what Brolly said about Hughes despite growing speculation he may now be punished.

In May, the station’s Head of Sport Ryle Nugent warned Brolly about his future conduct: “Joe is acutely aware that his ill-conceived attempt at humour was both inappropriate and extremely hurtful and had no place in any broadcast. Further, Joe is fully cognisant of the fact that similar comments in any future broadcast cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Brolly’s apology to Morrissey was his third public apology in as many years after he said sorry to Tyrone player Sean Cavanagh in 2013 and Sky Sports anchor Rachel Wyse last year.

The GAA are coming down hard on managers for derogatory comments about refs. In February, Tipperary football manager Peter Creedon picked up a sideline ban for criticism of referee David Coldrick.

Offaly boss Pat Flanagan may now also run into trouble after claiming “so-called lower teams” don’t get fair play from referees in the wake of his team’s qualifier loss to Kildare last Saturday.

Meanwhile, Pete McGrath believes umpires have too much influence and hit out at the GAA’s disciplinary process after Ryan McCluskey’s red card was upheld. The Fermanagh defender was sent off during the Ulster semi-final defeat by Monaghan for a foul on Owen Duffy and missed Sunday’s qualifier win over Antrim after the Central Hearings Committee upheld the red card.

“It seems to me that unless you can bring our Lord down himself to talk to these people, they are not going to change their minds.”

It was the second time during this year’s Ulster SFC that an umpire intervened in a red card incident, following Conall McGovern’s dismissal in Down’s loss to Derry.

Down manager Jim McCorry criticised the ‘poorly trained’ umpires and McGrath admitted: “I’m beginning to question the powers of umpires. I think if a referee needs assistance he can go to an umpire. But for something that the referee saw and dealt with, I don’t think there’s any need for an umpire to be coming in and giving his tuppence worth. The fact that a point a few minutes later (by Conor McManus) was actually wide, if they’d got that right they might have been better serving the game.”


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