Kevin Walsh says Jim Gavin ‘right to protect his players’
Galway manager unimpressed with trial by ‘television jury’ in Connolly case
Kevin Walsh: “The players inside the jersey that put their lives on hold needs to be given respect.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho
Galway manager Kevin Walsh reckons Jim Gavin was ‘100 per cent’ right to refuse to conduct broadcast interviews after Dublin’s Leinster semi-final win, and hit out at personal attacks on players via ‘trial by television jury’.
Annoyed by the coverage Diarmuid Connolly received in the aftermath of Dublin’s win over Carlow and the player’s subsequent 12-week ban for pushing an assistant referee, Gavin reignited the row by declining the customary television and radio interviews afterwards.
And although Walsh says he might not have taken a similar stance, he thinks Gavin was right to back his player who came under attack by ‘amateur journalists’.
“He is one 100 per cent right to protect his players. There are places for those things to be dealt with, whether it is a yellow card or a black card or whatever. Not trial by television jury. I believe he is right in what he is saying to protect his player,” said Walsh.
“It is up to himself to decide what type of stance he takes. I’m not saying that’s the stance that I would be taking but, at the same time, he is right to protect his players.
“That allows the amateur journalists, if you like, to have another bounce and whack out stuff for another few weeks. To be honest, the less I say the better. That’s why I don’t say too much, because I’m not going to be out there making headlines for people who want headlines.”
Walsh has history in this discussion and was annoyed by the criticism he received on The Sunday Game from former Sligo player Eamonn O’Hara shortly before Walsh’s stint as manager of Sligo came to an end in 2013.
Following on from Sligo’s championship loss in London, O’Hara called for Walsh to step down from the role and criticised his training methods. Afterwards Walsh labelled O’Hara’s critique as “unbalanced” and “unfair”.
And while he declined to comment on that specific row with O’Hara, he urged analysts to remember the amateur player behind the jerseys before they launch “personal attacks”.
“I’m not even going to comment on my own situation because I am not going to play tennis with someone who wants to play a game of tennis. That’s why I wouldn’t comment at the time and I’m not going to say any more about it.
“But, yeah, there’s a person inside that jersey who is working really hard and while constructive analysis is absolutely perfect if somebody knew exactly the deep coaching and the deep things that would affect a team and were qualified to do that on television they would do it.
“And that would be good analysis. It’s not about personal attacks. There’s rakes of room for good analysis that isn’t being carried out. Maybe in the future that will happen.
“I’m not talking about myself; I’m talking about players. I’m here, I’ll have to take the flak that comes with it.
“I suppose even coming into Galway in the first place, changing the style and different things to compete was probably tough. It was tough for nine months and I’m sure I got plenty of slating for it because it takes time to develop.
“But if you go after something you believe in and you know will work, you do that and you stand by it. If it fails, it fails. What I’m saying here is the players inside the jersey that put their lives on hold needs to be given the respect because there’s a person inside the jersey.”