Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 30 September 2014

Joe Brolly rant has highlighted cheating in all sport

Telegraph Sport: where the debate starts

RTÉ Pundit Joe Brolly speaks passionately about the tactics employed by Tyrone and Sean Kavanagh in their All-Ireland quarter final with Monaghan at Croke Park
RTÉ Pundit Joe Brolly speaks passionately about the tactics employed by Tyrone and Sean Kavanagh in their All-Ireland quarter final with Monaghan at Croke Park
RTÉ Pundit Joe Brolly (left) speaks passionately about the tactics employed by Tyrone and Sean Kavanagh in their All-Ireland quarter final with Monaghan at Croke Park
RTÉ Pundit Joe Brolly (left) speaks passionately about the tactics employed by Tyrone and Sean Kavanagh in their All-Ireland quarter final with Monaghan at Croke Park
RTÉ Pundit Joe Brolly (second left) speaks passionately about the tactics employed by Tyrone and Sean Kavanagh in their All-Ireland quarter final with Monaghan at Croke Park
RTÉ Pundit Joe Brolly (second left) speaks passionately about the tactics employed by Tyrone and Sean Kavanagh in their All-Ireland quarter final with Monaghan at Croke Park

The now infamous Joe Brolly rant doesn't just raise questions of the manliness of Sean Cavanagh. It also places the notion of cheating within sports in the spotlight.

Tyrone GAA star Cavanagh tackled Monaghan attacker Conor McManus to the ground as he headed through on goal in a game that Tyrone ultimately won by a slim margin. This cynical action incensed RTE pundit Brolly to the point of calling the incident "rotten", a "disgrace" and an "obscenity".

While this may make for great television, is it really fair to take pot shots at a player doing what has to be done for his team?

The vitriol reserved for 'divers' within soccer has always sat uneasily with me. Why is cheating in this form disgusting yet if a defender gets away with a clumsy challenge we lambast the referee for missing it?

Both instances are against the rules and unfairly disadvantage the opposition, yet the likes of Gareth Bale have been accused of diving – or cheating – while the defender is a lucky boy.

At the highest levels players must take almost any advantage they can or risk losing their spot. Particularly in soccer, with vast sums at risk, the cost of retaining superiority can be huge.

Instead of demanding that players stop using broken rules to their advantage wouldn't the best solution be to fix those rules?

While the black card will soon be introduced to GAA to combat these incidents, this effort will in the end be futile as players will find a new way to bend the rules for their gain.

Attempts to eradicate cheating are noble but will always fall short. After all, who'd be an honest loser instead of a crafty winner?

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