Have the top brass at RTÉ lost the run of themselves, become drunk on the wine of their own power? It would appear so. They’ve just fired one of the genuinely colourful commentators in their sports department. I’m referring to Joe Brolly.
Don’t get me wrong. Sometimes I think Joe is talking very good sense. Other times I think he’s talking shite. Other times again I don’t know what to think, because I can’t understand what he’s saying. But one thing I do know: he’s like Liam Dunphy or the late lamented Brian Clough – when he’s on-screen, you watch him more than anyone else and you listen to him more carefully than anyone else.
So why has he been dumped by our national broadcaster? Several reasons.
He suggested that the referee in the All-Ireland football final had been influenced by “Kerry propaganda” when he sent off Dublin’s Jonny Cooper.
He referred to Marty Morrissey as being “as ugly as Cavan football”.
He said of Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh, after Cavanagh had pulled down a Monaghan forward who had a goal chance: “Sean Cavanagh is a brilliant footballer but you can forget about him as far as he’s a man.”
Pretty disgusting stuff, eh? Let’s look at each in turn.
Is it possible the ref’s (in my opinion dodgy) decision to send off Cooper was influenced by Kerry propaganda? Of course it is. We’re all influenced in all our actions by a range of forces. Being influenced by stuff Kerry said, whether consciously or unconsciously, is possible. There are a lot of worse things could and probably were said about the ref.
Is Cavan football pretty? No. Never has been, never will be. Is Marty Morrissey very handsome? No. Was it witty to link the two things? Yes. Was it rude? Yes. Was it a hanging offence? FFS.
Is Sean Cavanagh a man? As far as I can tell. Was Brolly saying Cavanagh had committed a cynical foul? Probably. Is that the first cynical foul you’ve ever seen? No. Is it a shocking thing to say that about Cavanagh in the light of his action? FFS.
It would appear that anyone who doesn’t follow a mannerly, well-behaved, pleasantly-neutral tea-in-the-convent-parlour line must be culled from the herd of commentators. Even if, in their gut, those who do the culling know what he says is true or at least has a smidgin of truth.
Eamon Dunphy is right on the Brolly case. RTÉ appears to be intent on making all comments kind and colourless, and thus boring the brains out of its viewing public. Once you start telling the commentators that they must mind their ps and qs, you’ve got a recipe for dreary TV.
Right now Gaelic football is hitting a really high standard. RTÉ seems determined to keep commentating quality as yawn-making and low as possible.
And they’re paid for doing so. FFS.