‘No plans’ to lodge complaint over match comments

Donegal GAA officials have no plans to lodge a formal complaint with RTÉ about comments made on the Sunday Game programme.

Donegal GAA officials have no plans to lodge a formal complaint with RTÉ about comments made on the Sunday Game programme.

This is despite a call from former county manager, Tom Conaghan, who has called for the county board to lodge a complaint over what he termed the “over the top and uncalled for comments” from the Sunday Game analysts in the immediate aftermath of Sunday’s semi-final match.

On the programme, both Pat Spillane and Colm O’Rourke were particularly critical of the Donegal performance and the tactics employed by Donegal manager, Jim McGuinness.

Kerry man Pat Spillane, an eight-time All-Ireland winner with his native county and nine-time All-Star, was particularly disparaging in his criticism of Donegal’s style of play. Spillane branded Donegal’s style as “shite football” and also described Dublin’s win as “a victory for Dublin and a victory for Gaelic football.”

Former Meath All-Ireland winner, Colm O’Rourke, branded Sunday’s contest as “the game from Hell.”

However, Donegal secretary Aodh Mairtin Ó Fearraigh told the Democrat that the matter had not been discussed by officials, although he expected the matter to come up at their next meeting.

But he went on to say that they did not want to be drawn into a slagging match with Pat Spillane or any of the RTÉ pundits. He added that as far as he was concerned, the county board and county officials were fully behind Jim McGuinness and his players and the tactics they employed.

And he felt that they would not be lodging any complaint with the national broadcaster or anybody else for that matter about the criticism.

“Jim was given a four-year term when appointed last year and he has done a very good job. Regardless what others might say and think about the style of football, we support Jim 100 per cent,” said Aodh Mairtin.

“We’ve had a very successful year winning a first Ulster title in 19 years and winning promotion back to Division One and we were ten minutes away from reaching the All-Ireland final. It is a matter of getting fully behind Jim now for next year and building on what was achieved in 2011 and taking it from there.”

The topic has generated a fair amount of column inches and debate on radio, both local and national since Sunday, with opinion very much divided. However, as the week has progressed a more rational attitude seems to have emerged on the topic and the Donegal game plan for Sunday.

Respected national journalists such as Paddy Heeney and Martin Breheny, in their respective columns in the Irish News and the Irish Independent, took a more balanced attitude to the tactics employed by Jim McGuinness.

Heeney, in his column on Tuesday, wondered why all the criticism was heaped on Donegal when Dublin were equally guilty of packing their defence.

Breheny in his Breheny Beat column yesterday pointed out that Jim McGuinness broke no rule on Sunday and that the blame for the use of the tactic of playing extra numbers in defence was due to the GAA’s own hand pass rule.