Dessie Dolan stands firm on ‘Sunday Game’ comments

Former Westmeath All Star says there are ‘no agendas’ among broadcasters

Having had a few days to reflect on his comments on last weekend's Sunday Game about Diarmuid Connolly's suspension and the role played by fellow pundit Pat Spillane, former Westmeath All Star Dessie Dolan isn't inclined to change his mind.

On Sunday he commented on Dublin manager Jim Gavin’s criticism of Spillane for allegedly advocating the case for Connolly’s 12-week ban for pushing a match official.

Speaking in Croke Park on Thursday at the unveiling of Ericsson as the GAA's new technology partner as well as the new sponsor of the stadium's Skyline facility, Dolan was asked did he feel broadcast pundits should express opinions on issues that might impact on their counties.

“It’s a fair question. It was my opinion. Do I think my opinion has changed from Sunday night? I don’t to be honest. I think it was fairly well-rehearsed – what Pat had to say. When he was quoting the rules and stuff like that, that raised my suspicions – that was all.”


He did add that he hoped Gavin’s refusal to do one-on-one interviews in protest at broadcasters’ coverage of the matter would be relaxed.

"Think he had an issue with Sky too, didn't he? Everybody needs Jim Gavin doing interviews; we need the players. I just hope there is a resolution to this quickly. Maybe there is negotiation going on to resolve it because generally, there is a good relationship between RTÉ, Sky and Dublin. There are no agendas or anything like that."

Dolan reiterated that he felt the 12-week suspension Connolly had been given for the infraction was too harsh and referred to the similar case of Louth's Ryan Burns.

“I genuinely felt terrible for him. It looked as if he kicked the ball totally in frustration towards the goal and hit the umpire. It was a one-in-100 shot and he gets a three-month ban.”

Dolan did reveal that he hadn’t been terribly discomfited by the widespread publicity that surrounded Gavin’s comments on Sunday.

“To be honest, I just went home to Moate and got on with things.”

Seán Moran

Seán Moran

Seán Moran is GAA Correspondent of The Irish Times