Tyrone GAA fans were gobsmacked after an attack from RTE pundit Joe Brolly on their team’s cynical style — and the man of the match — went viral.
Former Derry star Brolly’s post-match analysis after Tyrone’s win over Ulster champions Monaghan was a relentless, scathing rant.
In the All-Ireland Football quarter-final at Croke Park, Tyrone player Sean Cavanagh brought down Conor McManus in a rugby style tackle — just as it looked as though the Monaghan man was through on goal.
But Brolly wasn't going to let Cavanagh off easily — and certainly not on live TV.
With arms flailing and emotions high, he branded manager Mickey Harte's side a “disgrace”, and accused them of setting a poor example for young talent watching the game.
“I see Mickey Harte smiling and jumping up and down at the end like they achieved. I’ll tell you what, they achieved something absolutely rotten,” he seethed. “I can’t believe somebody gave Sean Cavanagh a man-of-the-match award… it’s not within the rules, you’re not allowed to rugby tackle a player to the ground.”
The outburst by the Belfast barrister, who gave a kidney to his Gaelic football coach pal Shane Finnegan last year, became an online sensation — with more than 75,000 hits on YouTube last night.
Brolly’s outspoken defence of fair play even prompted a little bit of DUP and Sinn Fein agreement.
DUP councillors aren’t known for being avid GAA fans, but former Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson admired the pundit’s unbridled passion for the game.
“I don't watch gaelic games but that was impassioned commentary from Joe Brolly — respect,” he wrote on Twitter.
Sinn Fein’s Niall O Donnghaile backed Brolly. He asked: “People seem to be exaggerating the Joe Brolly stuff a bit. By dismissing it as a ‘rant’ are they merely dismissing the points he made?”
One man who didn’t expect the widespread reaction was the Monaghan player, Conor McManus. He tweeted: “Wel that escalated...”
A clearly irked Harte called Brolly “weary and boring”.
“I wouldn't be surprised, that is par for the course,” said Harte. “A complete tirade is all I've ever heard from certain individuals.”