Brollixgate row rumbles on

The debate about Joe Brolly’s pathetically one-sided “punditry” in the lead-up to last year’s All-Ireland final continues this morning, with responses to James Horan’s charges of bias and partiality against the Derry dunce coming from refs’ chief Pat McEnaney and from RTÉ. Neither of these stack up in my view.

McEnaney – as you’d expect – has rowed in, in this morning’s Irish Independent, with a rejection of James’ claim that the grinning clown’s anti-Mayo rant on RTÉ radio influenced Maurice Deegan’s handling of the final. But, sure, what else would you expect the chief apologist for the refereeing fraternity to say?

McEnaney – a man who knows better than most how to fuck up the refereeing of an All-Ireland final involving Mayo – states that the “yellow cards they picked up in the early stages of that game were clear-cut yellow cards. They could have no complaints.” That’s fine as it goes as long as our infringements were reffed in the same way that those by other teams were in previous All-Irelands, which transparently was not the case.

Remember, for example, Tadhg Kennelly punching Nicholas Murphy in the head right in front of Marty Duffy before the ball was thrown in at the start of the 2008 final? That was a straight red offence seen by the ref that didn’t even result in yellow. Or the way that Tyrone used every cynical and highly disruptive trick in the book in the 2008 final against Kerry? I recall a Kerryman beside me that day nearly having a seizure at what Tyrone were let do with complete impunity in the first half of that game. Or the endless cynical fouling that every other team in this year’s All-Ireland series took part in without facing the kind of one-sided punishment inflicted on us in the final? No complaints? I don’t think so, Pat.

The proof of the pudding on Brollixgate is surely how in the aftermath of the final the perpetrator himself – with his monstrous self-deluded ego – couldn’t resist crowing about his intervention. Writing in his column for a British Sunday newspaper the following weekend, Brolly claimed that our lads “were stopped in their tracks by referee Maurice Deegan” where their “first two tactical fouls in the first five minutes were greeted by immediate yellow cards and that, as they say, was that.” And tell us now Joe who put the ref up to this?

McEnaney’s intervention this morning is neither here nor there but there’s more than a little irony in the fact that it has come from a former referee whose own performance in an All-Ireland final left a whole load to be desired from a Mayo point of view. But that’s water under the bridge too, I suppose.

RTÉ’s intervention on the debate (reported on in the Irish Times and the Irish Examiner) is simply an arse-covering exercise but, this being RTÉ, they can’t even do that right. The charge made against them was that, as the so-called national broadcaster, they have a responsibility to ensure that what’s said on any issue is even-handed. Their half-hearted attempt at a placatory response is that Brolly is employed by them to provide his opinion and that while these opinions “may not always be shared by everyone in the audience or within the GAA … he is entitled to have those opinions”.

This completely misses the point: there’s no problem giving airtime to a maniacal loon like Brolly, providing they give equal airtime to someone (preferably not someone as certifiable) on the other side of this debate. This they failed to do at a crucial moment in time when someone in their pay was on a vendetta – which, by the way, I understand went well beyond his radio rant – to blacken our reputation and to get to the referee on the issue. That’s the point and it’s one that RTÉ have utterly ducked, just as they did when I and many others like me complained vociferously about Brolly’s caustic, derogatory and plain incorrect remarks about our team on TV the night of the league final. But, of course, that’s all in the past as well now and, sure, can’t we instead look forward to “the very good relationship” we apparently have with RTÉ continuing long into the future? Hmmm.

31 thoughts on “Brollixgate row rumbles on

  1. Well done Horan. About time Brolly taken to task. He was at it after the league final, he baited Conor Mortimer before and then the All Ireland. Enough is enough. He is being paid licence fee money after all.

  2. Agree totally Its time the whole county stud up to the disregard we are held in by most of the media.
    Brolly was calling McGuinness a genius all summer and was totally biased towards them (even though he was proven right when they won the all ireland)

  3. You know all this shite could have been saved if we had stood our ground long ago. Remember the abuse McDonald and Conor got over the blonde heads and the Swiss maidens jibe around was it 2004 or 2006. By the way Brolly wasn’t the only pundit on that show who stuck the boot in back then.

    The fact that RTE allowed this notion gather steam that Mayo were ahead of the posse in tactical fouling is a disgrace. Mayo simply were the last to join that bandwagon. Anyone who was at the league semi final v Kerry would have been given a master class by them in how to screw the opposition with tactical calls.The guy who chairs the Sunday Game sits and smiles as Joe goes to town on us. Beside him sits O Rourke who has cutely rowed back a tad from his opinions on us because he saw the train coming down the line regarding Brolly.

    So lets put Brolly into perspective. He comes from a county with one All Ireland that played a horrible game of roller ball. in 1993. He sits and sneers about a county whose pedigree comfortably surpasses his county’s. To the Brolly s of this world, a bit like SKY television who seem to think that soccer started around ironically 1993, the time Derry won their single All Ireland , Mayo can be given dogs abuse free from any protection of RTEs supposedly impartial chairs of those programmes.

    We contributed to this state of affairs by ignoring the vitriol by hoping it would go away. Any one who has experienced bullies will tell you that being passive is akin to sticking a placard on your back with the words “Kick me” written large on it. Brolly didn’t start on the day of the league final last year, nor the day of the All Ireland final. In fact he seemed to have a particular access to Donegal and was able to regale the nation through his paper column how McGuinness the Donegal manager berated the Croke park officials because they were not given the dressing room with number One written on it for that final. He then winked at the assembled flock.

    To me it would appear as a Mayo man that Joe Brolly cannot be relied on to treat the county with basic respect. We ourselves are the most aware of our own short comings. we accept criticism but are judged on a level that other teams are never exposed to. Hence Westmeath’s 2003 Leinster championship win would have more respect among certain paid pundits than the three All Ireland finals, three national league finals we reached since then.

    I believe that we have now given oxygen to a story that should have been dealt with behind closed doors ages ago. The remedy was simple. Either you and your pundits treat us with the same respect as the rest of the country is accorded or we wont speak to the station. Pat Spillane quickly put an end to the daft assertions that Brolly touted about the Gooch. We take it up the pipe week in week out.

    The initial article about Horans view on the whole affair never named Brolly as far as I recall. That actually gave Brolly the nerve to go for the jugular and claim the ground back. Last April and September was the time to sort him if not years before that.

    Solutions? Simple, don’t facilitate RTE, hold the nerve, there are a few others particularly on radio there who thinks we are dogs shit as well. Of course that wont happen, what would people say would be the mantra, the country would laugh at us…hah, a bit like whats already happening anyway. Grow a set of balls as a county. We know the drill, until we win the effing thing we are dead meat anyway so who actually cares if we tell RTE to eff off, I for one couldn’t give a damn about them and do you know what, we might actually get a bit of real respect.

  4. Feck ya john cuffe you have me sharpening the pike ready to march on montrose at this stage. couldnt agree more , the county board would want to put in place a media strategy with a clear mandate for certain mayo people to push back immediately in the media when we feel we have been abused. i bet pat spillane would have lifted his phone to a few kerry GAA people saying things like ” you are not going to let him say things like that about the gooch are you Pat??”

  5. Well whatever 2013 brings, the accusation is out there. Brolly has more platforms than RTE to give his opinion so he will carry on regardless.

    Personally I would like to see anyone with a conflict of interest taken off All Ireland duty from quarter final stage onwards, they can’t help where they come from and where their allegiances lie but don’t put them in a position where they have to comment on their own counties (or friends and neighbours) game

    That goes for Des Cahill after the semi final, Martin McHugh ditto
    Pat Spillane and Tony Davis as well at times

    If anything Kevin McStay goes the other way to be impartial. Martin Carney is fair too. So just because there are Mayo men in the media doesn’t make them cheerleaders either

    Brolly is GAA’s Dunphy. Slags off Cork one year, praising them the next. Same for Donegal in 2011. Next year he’ll flip flop on Cooper.

    He is a lazy journalist, obsessed with Ulster superiority “bottle” “genius” and whatever else he can fit into a soundbite

    Two minutes to summarise a half or a game gives rise to this type of guff

    As others have said, I don’t care what he says elsewhere, but resent having to pay his RTE salary to listen to it

  6. John Cuffe said it best “We know the drill, until we win the effing thing we are dead meat anyway “, best to say no more on this and let the lads do the talking but that wont happen, this is media heaven while times are quiet on the GAA front to have us up in arms.

  7. Agreed pzer. I think Mayo/Horan have said too much already and Brolly/Co have got the reaction they were looking for.

  8. Jh has shown that he has balls,what he said was right and its a pity he was the one who had to say it,the cb should have been challenging this sort of shite years ago,they should have been the ones to comment on the ref for the simi not jh,it looks like he is out there without there support,cowards one and all…well done Jh

  9. I could say something about Joe Brolly, but it would be taken down as too offensive. He’s a pundit who cannot read the game properly however. Tommy Conlon at least exposed the little arrogant tosspot for what he really is, albeit way too late.

  10. I met him through a mutual friend at the all-Ireland in 1996.I made a jovial remark about his celebrations after scoring goals…..suffice to say that his reaction to me wasn’t pleasant.I’m glad that I then told him he was an arrogant prick.My opinion hasn’t changed in 17yr, and this was before he became a smug clueless piteog on the SG.

  11. Here’s the team for tonight, courtesy of Mid West:
    David clarke – Ballina Stephenites
    2) Michael Walsh – Ardnaree
    3) Cathal Hallinan – Ballintubber
    4) Keith Rogers – Ballaghaderreen
    5) Tom Cunniffe – Castlebar Mitchels
    6) Donal Vaughan – Ballinrobe
    7) Chris Barrett – Belmullet
    8) Jason Gibbons – Ballintubber
    9) Barry Moran – Castlebar Mitchels
    10) Lee Keegan – Westport
    11) Richie Feeney – Castlebar Mitchels
    12) Cathal Carolan – Crossmolina
    13) Conor O’Shea – Breaffy
    14) Alan Freeman – Aghamore
    15) Michael Conroy – Davitts

  12. Brolly loves stirring the pot, thats all he does. he loves the attention, all Jamess is doing is feeding Brollys ego. In my opinion the county board should just complain to the head of sport at RTE Ryle Nugent, and leave it at that. However it is unlikely that anything will happen. If you look at RTE rugby coverage with George Hook, there is no analysis don on any match, just rants and and cheap sound bytes, the same with soccer coverage, litte or no analysis just rants and cheap sound bytes from Dunphy. So it seems to be Policy in RTE that there must be at least one crank on each panel to stir the pot. Makes paying the licence fee all the harder

  13. Team announced for GMIT: Vaughan and Clarek are back.

    MAYO: 1. David Clarke (Ballina); 2. Michael Walsh (Ardnaree), 3. Cathal Hallinan (Ballintubber), 4. Keith Rogers (Ballaghaderreen); 5. Tom Cunniffe (Castlebar Mitchels), 6. Donal Vaughan (Ballinrobe), 7. Chris Barrett (Belmullet); 8. Jason Gibbons (Ballintubber), 9. Barry Moran (Castlebar Mitchels); 10. Lee Keegan (Westport), 11. Richie Feeney (Castlebar Mitchels), 12. Cathal Carolan (Crossmolina); 13. Conor O’Shea (Breaffy), 14. Alan Freeman (Aghamore), 15. Michael Conroy (Davitt’s).

  14. That’s an interesting half forward line.
    With Cunniffe back, we might have an embarassment of riches in the backs, and JH might be looking for options. McLoughlin started his Mayo career at half back before moving forward.

  15. On the pundit debate, an RTE executive browsing this blog would be delighted at the sweat worked up by bloggers. Jucer is right, the whole idea is to get loudmouths on to stir things up. Why should we take seriously any of this? When you meet your pals after a match, it’s their opinions you want to hear. Why trot home to see what pundits have to offer, often from 150 miles away in a studio, with no feel for the match at all?

  16. As usual John Cuffe speaks the truth.

    Brolly is and always was a wind-up merchant, a clown who could be a good analyst if only he could rein in his penchant for smugness and spite. Alas, he can’t resist a good dig at anyone and everyone. Sure Gooch is a choker! Yes, the same Gooch, who has four All-Ireland medals to date and is not yet 30. That ‘assertion’ alone illustrates why no self-respecting newspaper would have Joe Brolly anywhere near their GAA analysis.

    But even more than stirring up the Kerrymen, Joe loves to pick on whoever’s losing big matches. He was at it with Cork for years. Then Cork won in 2010. And so he’s at it with us now. You could even argue that that in itself is not the problem: there are plenty of gobshite pundits out there. The problem is that RTE give this eejit the biggest platform in national media to spout his nonsense.

    So if you’re on the receiving end, the choice is: do you lie down and take it forever, or do you fight back, even though this gives the bully the reaction that they want?

    I think that if you want any respect, you’ve got to fight back. I think Horan has done it the right way, by questioning RTE’s role in failing to pull Brolly up during his rant against Mayo’s ‘cynical fouling’ when he was supposed to be previewing the final. If RTE get on to Joe and force him to tone it down, that’s what will hurt him – in his TV and radio output at least. The crap that he spouts in print can be ignored much more easily.

  17. Hey lads here’s a message for any RTE exec reading this blog (although I doubt any would bother unless they are Mayo fans) , while it’s hard for me to quantify exactly but in my circle of friends and the two sports teams I play on I would be suprised if it’s less than 75% of us who wouldn’t lwatch the anlaysis at half-time or on the Sunday Game. In fact most of us don’t watch the Sunday game but prefer to watch TG4 on a Monday cause they show more of the actual games anyway.
    While looking for opinions on all thinks GAA football all of us would listen to Newsatlk sport with the likes of Anthony Moyles. Connor Deegan and Colm Parkinson or watch Seo Spoirt. So if you are reading this RTE men/women the Sunday Game (apart from the live action) doesn’t effect my genration so all we have to do is turn down the sound at half-time on a live broadcast and we never hear anything from the likes of Brolly!


  19. No need to shout, Sean Og! You’re right re when Kennelly hit Murphy – just looked back at it now again and he came steaming in after the throw-in and took him out with an elbow to the face – but it was right in front of the ref and there’s no way he could have missed it. McEnaney may have had a reputation as a top ref but after the way he reffed us in 1996 there’s no way he should have been allowed to continue at the top level.

  20. hey Catcol, if there is an RTE executive browsing this blog, all I have to say to them is F.&*K You. I don’t pay the tv licence fee… Brolly or any other clown in Montrose don’t bother me

  21. Would love to have heard McEnaneys view on the foul or not on O Connor that led to Donegal’s second goal. Also his opinion on the foul or not on Keegan as he hared through the Cork cover in the league final. Both turn overs led to goals against us.

    The standard response to referees is the GAAs attitude, they are always right even when they are patently wrong. The biggest single problem in football today is the varied interpretation that each ref gives to the same play. One refs free in is another refs free out.

    In rugby generally speaking the rules are uniform and the ref explains as he goes along. How many games were you at where the whistle is blown and you don’t know whether you will get a free in or a free out given against you.

    Also cast the mind back to Meath 2009 and Meath minors this year. Opinions on referees on the back of a post card to headquarters please.

  22. willy joe:pat mcenaney did not start the brawl in 96 it was one of our own lying on the ground faking injury :and the ref did not ask LMc to run 30 yards and jump in knees up :

  23. So one of our own on the ground started the brawl! Jesus, that’s a new one. I know Prat McEnaney didn’t start the brawl, but he could have made a better fist of the sendings off. And don’t tell me he didn’t know the difference between John McDermott and Colm Coyle, please. Because any sane individual could do that. Also, McHale didn’t start that brawl either.

  24. Sean Og – we all have our own recollections of what we saw that day and who was to blame for what. McEnaney’s dreadful reffing didn’t end, by the way, with how he dealt with the brawl (even he admitted a few years back that he got the sendings-off wrong) and his overall performance that day was right up there with John Gough’s in the 1983 final. His refereeing career should have gone the same way as Gough’s too.

  25. Dead right , W.J. What about no quick kick out or free’s, pulled our keeper 3 times I think, but allowed it for Tommy Dowd’s goal.In Liam’s defence, I will say what I’ve always said since, he had no choice. I’ve stood at Mayo matches where he was abused by our own. ( too soft, won’t get stuck in, wont use his size ) was he going to stand back and watch his team mates beaten, and listen to it for the rest of his life. We in Mayo don’t like our players to be different, think Ciaran Mc. Funny they were some of the better ones.

  26. Everyone in entitled to their opinions, and in particular after a match. The key issue here is the Brollys comments in advance may have impacted the refs performance. Is it ok for team managers to try this? I think that it is, as refs can expect it and deal with it on that basis. Whereas Brollys comments could have had a more subtle impact because he might be perceived as being neutral. Mind you, I do think that he was not alone in highlighting this issue, there were more than a few dubs talking about this, even on the excellent ‘Off the ball’ on Newstalk.
    Finally, referees get a hard time in every code, look at scrum time in rugby, I saw a stat that Arsenal have won once in 13 matches when Mike Dean was a ref, now that raises questions….

  27. Willie Joe it is interesting that the career of Gough ended post ’83 after that debacle of refereeing and McEneaney if anything graduated further given his current postion. The only difference was that in ’83 one team went out with a clear agenda (kick the other off the park) i.e. Dublin against the other team who did not know how to handle it i.e. Galway. And Heffo had the gall to lacerate Galway who were largely the innocent party. In ’96 what was unfair about the sendings off was the greater impact loss that Mayo suffered compared to Meath. The game up to that point albeit in not great conditions saw nothing like the thuggery Dublin dished in ’83. It is fair to say it took Galway the full 15 yrs to recover.
    Anyways back to topic. My take on Brolly is that he cannot countenace any criticism of Ulster football from the likes of Pat Spillane etc so where possible loads it onto the other perceived weak province i.e. Connacht. In the greater scheme of thing i would not be concerned with the likes of him and far more enjoy Spillane as at least he is consistent with his anlaysis whether one likes it or not. Spillane calls it as it is that is no bad thing.

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