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Joe Brolly's cruel jibe... that was ugly

By Declan Bogue

Published 26/05/2015

Marty Morrissey (pictured) was the subject of a jibe from Joe Brolly
Marty Morrissey (pictured) was the subject of a jibe from Joe Brolly

On Sunday, Joe Brolly's newspaper column ran on the thorny topic of sledging, this season's new issue that has in fact been bubbling under for many years and subject to a previously cast-iron code of silence.

He noted the depths that some players are reported to have sank to.

He mentioned Sean Cavanagh's interview earlier in the week and his concerns for the players' mental health, writing: "Unlike in the old days, where the sledging could be laughed about over a pint afterwards, even if it was years later, there is no redeeming feature in this stuff. It is hateful and can only breed hatred."

And, hours later, he went on RTÉ and drew a particularly clumsy analogy between Cavan football and his colleague Marty Morrissey, using the word 'ugly'.

Of course, host Michael Lyster held him to account immediately and prised something of a half sincere apology from him, but you note how Lyster himself had to state it was, indeed, an apology.

Another national newspaper also got it spectacularly wrong on their front page lead on Monday, with 'You're not ugly Marty' as their headline.

How would you feel about being called ugly on television, or having it open for debate in newspaper headlines?

Why should Morrissey be the butt of a cruel jibe?

Such inconsistencies have become synonymous with Joe. When you have several media platforms and so many opinions, that is inevitable.

Some time ago, he was leading the call for indentured slaves to rise up against the tyranny of county football. But when Eoin Bradley took time out from his Derry career, he was subject to a personal attack from Brolly.

He reserves cutting remarks for managers who play defensive systems, yet when then-Armagh manager Paul Grimley sent a team out for all-out attack only to be defeated in 2013, he was lampooned mercilessly.

RTÉ are not prepared to act. Of course they are not.

Because Gaelic football is sport, and Joe is in the business of entertainment, with Gaelic football as a backdrop.

RTÉ keep on winning, even if the list of contradictions and apologies keeps growing.

Belfast Telegraph

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